A day after the Victoria Police stood down a senior constable over the leak of photos of arrested former AFL coach Dean Laidley, transgender activists have asked for an investigation whether transphobia was a motivation for leaking the photos.
“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 Martine Delaney, Veteran transgender advocate and just.equal spokesperson.
Delaney said that Victoria Police Minister Lisa Neville dismissing transphobia as a contributing factor did not send out the right message.
“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,” said Delaney.
“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,” Delaney.
Laidley (53), a former North Melbourne coach was arrested on Saturday night from outside a home in St Kilda and charged with offences including those related to stalking. The photo of Laidley dressed in a blonde wig and a dress and a mugshot were leaked and published in the media, inviting accusations of transphobia.
Deputy Commissioner Shane Patton had on Monday announced that a senior constable was suspended with pay and Victoria Police had commenced a Professional Standards Command investigation. The constable could be charged with “unauthorised access to information”. The offence carries a jail term of up to two years or almost $40,000 in fine.
Media reports had quoted Neville dismissing concerns that the leakage of the photos had been transphobic. “I think this had much more to do about football than it did about anything else, but let the investigation go on,” Neville said.