It is the kind of sweet and heart-warming story the world needs right now. Former Home and Away star and Australian actor Mat Stevenson symbolically adopted his trans daughter Grace Hyland’s best friend Belle Bambi, after her own father had rejected her for being transgender.
Hyland took to TikTok, posting a video of the interaction saying, “My BFF’s dad left because she’s trans, so we did this.”
@grace.hylanddWe’re sisters now! @bambifairy ##trans ##lgbt ##foryou ##adoption ##family♬ Opportunity – Quvenzhané Wallis
Rejected After Coming Out As Trans
While the adoption isn’t legally binding, Bambi herself later posted on TikTok, describing Stevenson as a person “who accepts and loves me for who I am.”
Bambi and Grace, who between them have amassed over two hundred thousand social media followers have both in recent years shared the public spotlight, discussing openly their experiences, triumphs and tribulations of growing up trans in Australia.
@grace.hylanddThanks so much dad for all of your love and support ##foryou ##trans ##lgbt ##dad ##support♬ Fire On Fire – From “Watership Down” – Sam Smith
Matt Stevenson As A Trans Ally
Earlier this year, Stevenson, who became a household name in Australia with his long running role on Home and Away, alongside roles on Neighbours and Offspring, said in an interview with The Sunday Project that given the high suicide rate among transgender teenagers he didn’t want Grace “to become one of those statistics”.
“Sadly, in this country, we have a really high adolescent suicide rate and it’s a tragedy. Trans-adolescents are 36 times more likely to self-harm, to commit suicide,” Stevenson told The Sunday Project “There’s a distinct correlation between lack of support and self-harm.”
Appearing alongside her father in the interview with The Sunday Project, Grace told the panel that from “as young as like maybe four or five, I was just really feeling that I was a girl and I couldn’t explain it.”
“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.”
For 24 hour crisis support and suicide prevention call Lifeline on 13 11 14
For Australia-wide LGBTQI peer support call QLife on 1800 184 527 or webchat.