Ex-Home And Away actor Mat Stevenson has symbolically adopted his transgender daughter Grace Hyland’s best friend Belle Bambi, after Belle claimed her own father rejected her after she transitioned.
Grace Hyland, 20, and Belle Bambi, 23, are both transgender and longtime friends. The pair have thousands of followers each on social media platform TikTok.
And on TikTok over the weekend, the pair both shared videos of the beautiful family gesture.
Grace hands a bouquet of flowers to an emotional Belle, before father Mat holds up an adoption certificate and kissing her cheek.
“He’s always supported me, and he wants to support Bambi, too,” Grace explains.
“We’re sisters now! My BFF’s dad left because she’s trans. So we did this!”
The “adoption” is not legally binding, however the family’s certificate recognises Stevenson as Belle’s “chosen dad”.
The two women are longtime friends. Grace has over 229,000 followers on TikTok. In her videos she shares her experiences growing up as transgender in Australia.
Transgender TikTok star Grace Hyland and father Mat Stevenson discuss transition
Mat Stevenson, an actor who played Adam Cameron in Home And Away in the 1990s, appeared alongside his daughter Grace on The Project to discuss her transitioning as a teen.
Grace said she considered herself “truly lucky” to have a supportive father after she began identifying as a girl aged 12.
“As young as like maybe four or five, just really feeling that I was a girl and I couldn’t explain it,” Grace said.
“I came out at 12 and then I went through a gradual transition until I was 14, to grow my hair out, to get my name change sorted, to sort out my [puberty] blockers.
“And then by the time I was 14, I was fully presenting as Grace to the public and at school.”
Stevenson told The Project he was devastated to hear the high suicide rate among transgender teenagers in Australia.
“Sadly in this country, we have a really high adolescent suicide rate and it’s a tragedy,” he said.
“Trans adolescents are 36 times more likely to self-harm, to commit suicide. There’s a distinct correlation between lack of support and self-harm.”
If you need someone to talk to, help is available from QLife on 1800 184 527 or online at QLife.org.au, Lifeline on 13 11 14, Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800, or beyondblue on 1300 22 4636.
For the latest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) news in Australia, visit qnews.com.au. Check out our latest magazines or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.