Former Home And Away star Mat Stevenson has symbolically adopted his transgender daughter Grace Hyland’s best friend Belle Bambi after her father allegedly rejected her.
Grace shared the news on TikTok, applauding her dad for being so understanding.
“He’s always supported me, and he wants to support Bambi, too,” Grace said. ‘We’re sisters now! My BFF’s dad left because she’s trans. So we did this!’
While the adoption is not legally binding, the certificate recognises Stevenson as Belle’s “chosen dad”.
Grace and Belle have been longtime BFFs, with Grace sharing many pictures of the pair on her social media.
Stevenson has also been a huge ally and advocate for his daughter’s transition, after she began identifying as a girl at age 12.
The actor, who rose to fame playing Adam Cameron in Home And Away, told The Sunday Project earlier this year that given the high suicide rate among transgender teenagers he didn’t want his daughter “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,” he said. “There’s a distinct correlation between lack of support and self-harm.”
Grace has been open about her journey, saying she consulted doctors, psychologists and experts in the field for a year before commencing any physical treatment.
“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 blockers,” she said. “And then by the time I was 14, I was fully presenting as Grace to the public and at school.”