Dean Laidley

A charge of stalking becomes national news when the alleged stalker is AMAB in women’s clothes. Reporting on Dean Laidley treats them as a man, even while stating they asked police to call them Daniella. It also shows the photographs of them in a wig and dress taken by a police officer, even while condemning that police officer who is suspended and likely to lose his job.

Dean Laidley was a former player in the Australian Football League, then coach of North Melbourne. Aussie Rules football is a contact sport played with an oval ball, played all over the world though only professionally in Australia, where it is the most popular sport. The leaked photographs, published by the Murdoch outlets, show them in the interview room with a long blonde wig, and in a mugshot with makeup but without the wig, showing a man’s haircut, short at the sides, apparently receding. Now they have been outed, I comment on the outing.

Senior cop stood down over ‘appalling’ photo leak as troubled ex-AFL coach faces seven charges, blared Murdoch, even while showing both photographs. Laidley’s alleged crime is not the news: a report says further charges are to be revealed at a court hearing on May 11. ‘If only they knew’: Ex-AFL coach’s former manager, teammate react to troubling police photos it blared in a separate article, though that turns out to be one of those non-news articles where two tweets are quoted and waffled over. Summarise the tweet, quote the tweet, say what the tweet said. Ricky Nixon tweeted, “Guess who’s the least surprised person in Aust. on Dean Laidley — if only the media knew what I knew,” and then deleted it, saying Laidley had confided in him for fifteen years. I think most have taken my original tweet re: Dean Laidley the wrong way regardless of what he’s been charged with everyone is different stop being jealous.

Of course the Daily Mail also published the photos, with the headline Dean Laidley’s fall from grace: The tragic moment that left the AFL great a ‘broken man’ before his shocking arrest on stalking charges while on bail and dressed as a woman. “Tragic”, they giggle. They begin, AFL great Dean Laidley was a tormented soul who never fully recovered from the death of a footy fan he clashed with in 2006. “Clashed with”- what? Body-slammed? No, the man harangued him about how badly the team was doing, footage of the confrontation was broadcast nationally, and that evening the fan killed himself.

The Mail quotes, The images circulating of a high-profile arrest today are [a] deplorable breach of privacy,’ Liberty Victoria tweeted. The transphobic overtones only serve to make the breach even more egregious. Not good enough @VictoriaPolice: we are watching.
Please deal with this unacceptable incident swiftly & properly.

Transphobic overtones. Well, yes. There are few details: Dean Laidley has been arrested; photos from the police station of them dressed female were leaked, and a police officer has been suspended; various people have commented. The claim that they “demanded” to be addressed as Daniella came from The West Australian (behind a paywall) and was quoted elsewhere, including here.

Why is it newsworthy? Because they were a prominent professional athlete and coach, but also because they were dressed female. That someone is trans should not be in the news unless they want it to be: I find “My Struggle” articles problematic for other reasons, but outing someone is transphobic. Why mention it at all, except for prurient motives? Then, all the transphobia is in the reader. The transphobe looks at that pitiable mugshot and feels disgust- disgust for all of us, as the association is with perversion. The photo is published to produce that result. I can see no other reason why it should interest anyone. The Mail reported that he had been seen outside barefoot and “dishevelled”- but there are no photos of that.

Another Mail article quoted at length things people had said on TV about the case, and that Laidley’s drug use and “lifestyle choices”- unnamed, but what else but the dressing?- were an “open secret”. And published the photos again.

That Laidley cross-dresses should not be reported. It should not matter. They are interesting because they are an athlete. Being trans is a normal attribute, of a small minority. The press mentions it because they think people will be amused or disgusted. On May 11th, at the bail hearing, their barrister stated they have gender dysphoria, but referred to them as “him”. They were released to a rehab centre, but the alleged stalked woman stated she was petrified of them and exhausted by their attention.

The Tranny Threat

The tranny threat. Would you want one of us sitting beside you in an aeroplane? What if that tranny is a terrorist? In Canada,

5.2 (1) An air carrier shall not transport a passenger if …
(c) the passenger does not appear to be of the gender indicated on the identification he or she presents;

In Canada, one of us cannot get a passport with the correct gender marker unless s/he has the Op scheduled within one year.

Now, I can just about imagine going to check in and saying, what do you mean I do not look like a man? Dressed as girly feminine as I can, I take off my wig and putting on my baritone, I say, “Do I look like a man now? No, I don’t like the M on my passport either, but what can you do with a homophobic government?” But I cannot imagine doing that three months after I started to live full time. Before I transitioned, while I holidayed in the UK expressing myself female, when I went to Italy I presented male, because I did not want any hassle. Is there any particular reason why I should not have gone to Malta in 2002? It was only just after the Twin Towers attack.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper shakes hands with a security officer during a visit to Toronto, Ontario. January 28, 2012.  (Photo by Deb Ransom)

On second thoughts, can Stephen Harper really be a bigot, when he allows himself to be photographed shaking hands with a black man?

In Britain, I got a passport saying F as soon as I changed my name. My GP had to write to the passport agency saying I intended to live female life long. In Australia I read one can get a passport marked M, F or X for indeterminate; X is not open to transgender people, but that will come. The US has dropped the surgery requirement for giving a correct gender marker on the passport.

We are no threat to anyone. Like people with schizophrenia, we (and other people) are a far bigger threat to us than we to others. I now know why to oppose Mr Cameron’s desire for a British Bill of Rights to replace the European Human Rights Convention. He wants a land safe for bigots.

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Then again, imagine trying to leave Canada with my current passport, and not being allowed to board the plane because some attendant thinks I look like a man?