The Stan Original Documentary Revealed Danielle Laidley is an unmissable Australian story that demands to be heard.

Danielle Laidley's story is one shaped by a search to live life authentically. 

Raised in 1970s Perth before breaking into AFL football, she would go on to play professionally for the West Coast Eagles and North Melbourne from 1987 to 1997. With footy ingrained in her from a young age, Dani went on to hold coaching roles with North Melbourne, Port Adelaide, St Kilda, and Carlton football clubs.

During this time, Dean Laidley was the person the public knew. 

But this is only one part of Laidley's story.

At the same time, she was grappling with her assigned gender, with her transgender identity at odds with the hetero-normative and hyper-masculine sporting community she had aligned with for most of her life. 

This dichotomy of identities is explored in the Stan Original Documentary Revealed - Danielle Laidley: Two Tribes which premiered September 19 only on Stan. 

Watch the trailer here. The article continues after video.

This documentary is a must-see: it's a raw, unflinching, and extremely intimate account of a sporting legend and transgender advocate who had to overcome many hardships on her way to finding a fulfilling life. 

Revealed - Danielle Laidley: Two Tribes presents archival material like photos, journals and videos to give viewers an insight into the everyday struggles and joys Dani has faced throughout a twelve-month period under public scrutiny.


Beginning in early childhood being born into a working-class suburb of Perth, to her career as a player and coach, the documentary captures Dani's journey to understand her gender identity. 

“It’s with nervous anticipation that I share my story with Australia," Danielle Laidley said about the documentary's release. "This story won’t pull any punches; you’ll see me at my lowest points and at my highest, surrounded by those whom I care about most who stood by me through it all." 

Danielle's story is one that many LGBTQIA+ Australians can relate to, but it's also a story that wholly belongs to the footballer-turned-trans-advocate.  

The documentary doesn't shy away from the tough moments. One scene documents Dani recovering from breast implant surgery, she is seen suffering a lot of pain post-surgery, sending Dani's mental health on a downward spiral. 

At the same time, it came out that members of the Victoria Police had a group chat where they shared Danielle's photos, along with exchanging nasty and transphobic comments. 

This came out after Laidley was in police custody after being arrested for stalking in 2020 while in the grips of drug addiction.

The photos were shared by several media outlets which stole the ex-footballer's right to choose when and how she shared her gender transition with family and friends.


"Every time I see a copper now, I think 'Did you send those photos? Did you receive those photos?' I know hate is a big word but... I can't f**king deal with it," Dani vented in one tense moment.

At the time, her partner Donna Leckie said that she had to put a "suicide prevention plan in place" in case the worst happened. "These things weigh heavily on Dani," Donna said. 

The documentary is as much a love story as it is an account of what it's like to grow up transgender in Australia. Throughout the interviews, Donna is often sitting at Dani's side, offering empathetic words of support and encouragement.

Donna Leckie and Danielle Laidley. Image: Supplied.


Dani and Donna met at school, dating on and off before their lives took different directions. When Laidley was at her lowest point, she reunited with her now-partner Donna.

The film is also a loving dedication to Dani's football and LGBTQIA+ communities. In one touching moment that made me well up, Laidley walks in the pride parade wearing both transgender and AFL branding as a representation of the 'two tribes' she straddles. 

In another emotional scene, Dani and her old North Melbourne footy pals reunited on the field to reflect on the moment they won the premiership in 1996. It's when Danny and her two teammates became refreshingly vulnerable about how repressive and toxic the boys' club was back then. 

"At that time in my life, the gender dysphoria was roaring," Dani reflected. "Back then, we'd all joke around and hang sh*t on each other... but it wasn't a quality or depth of conversation." 

"We played in an environment where we were not permitted to show vulnerability; we were not permitted to be soft, caring, or compassionate. We loved each other but it was only skin-deep," said a former North Melbourne player in the documentary.


Dani credits the support she's received from the football community for saving her life. In 2022, Dani arrived at the Brownlows as her authentic self in a stunning white gown. 

Revealed - Danielle Laidley: Two Tribes is an important TV experience that should be compulsory viewing for every Australian. 

The documentary is by Stan in conjunction with JAM TV, co-written and co-directed by Emmy award-winning Julie Kalceff and Sam Matthews (Unboxed), with an original score by award-winning composer Charlie Chan.

Revealed - Danielle Laidley: Two Tribes is the sixth title in Stan’s landmark documentary slate, following Amongst Us - Neo Nazi Australia, No Mercy, No Remorse, Trafficked, Reefshot and The Cape. The Stan Original Documentaries have been created in collaboration with award-winning journalists, filmmakers and philanthropists from Australia and around the world.

Stan Original Documentary Revealed - Danielle Laidley: Two Tribes is now available to stream, only on Stan.

Feature image: Supplied. 

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