Trans advocates have called on Victoria Police to investigate transphobia as a motivation for the leak of photos of high-profile former AFL player and former Kangaroos coach Dani Laidley.
A senior constable has been stood down, and an investigation will be conducted into the taking and leaking of photos of Laidley in a dress and blonde wig while in custody after being arrested on Saturday night on stalking and other charges.
Victoria Police Minister Lisa Neville dismissed concerns of transphobia, saying, “I think this had much more to do about football than it did about anything else.”
Veteran trans activist and just.equal spokesperson Martine Delaney said that the dismissal of transphobia sends a negative message.
“Ignoring the likely transphobia behind this incident sends a message to trans sportspeople and police that the authorities don’t care about the prejudice and discrimination they face,” said Delaney.
“Victoria Police must investigate transphobia as a motive, and do more to challenge transphobia in its ranks.
“We call on all Australian police services to implement nationally consistent and high-standard training for police in transgender issues.
“The fact this occurred just days after Victoria adopted a new progressive law recognising transgender people shows law reform must be accompanied by campaigns to improve attitudes and practices.”
From the first of this month, trans and gender diverse Victorians have the right to correct their birth certificate gender without the need for surgery.
Deputy Commissioner of Victoria Police Shane Patton called the leak of Laidley’s photos “appalling” and “unacceptable”, News.com.au has reported.
He confirmed that the officer allegedly responsible has been interviewed in relation to possible unlawful conduct and will face disciplinary action, as well as potential charges.
“I’m appalled that an employee of Victoria Police has taken these photographs,” Patton said.
“It’s unacceptable conduct, it’s appalling conduct, and that type of conduct has no place in our organisation.
“It breaches a person’s privacy, it breaches their human rights, and we’re taking this matter extremely seriously.”
Story updated to reflect Laidley’s correct first name, which was changed after the original publication date.