Mat Stevenson has been very supportive of his daughter and now wants to be there as a Dad for her best friend too.
A father has symbolically adopted his daughter's trans best friend after her father rejected her for being trans. Mat Stevenson has been a huge source of support for his trans daughter, Grace Hyland, and didn't hesitate to adopt her best friend Belle Bambi. Hyland, who's popular on TikTok, posted a video of the moment her father adopted her friend and it has gone viral on the platform. "My BFF’s dad left because she’s trans," Hyland captioned the video. "So we did this: Dad is adopting her! He’s always supported me, and he wants to support Bambi, too. We’re sisters now!"
Another video shows Mat holding up a symbolic certificate of adoption. "I’ve got something for you," says Mat, before signing it. Stevenson then gives his new daughter a kiss on the cheek. "He adopted me," Bambi wrote as the video ended. Bambi herself posted the video, writing, "Finally, a dad who accepts and loves me for who I am," wrote Bambi. "Some days I think about how my dad left me because I’m trans." Hyland and Bambi have been best friends for years and often share their experiences as trans people on TikTok and Instagram.
Mat Stevenson is also a well-known Australian actor, having played the role of Adam Cameron in Home And Away. Stevenson and his daughter Hyland did an interview sharing her journey as a trans person. Grace Hyland said she knew as early as she was four or five that she felt more like a girl. She came out as trans first to her stepmother at the age of 12, through a note. "She was so supportive and she really helped me navigate telling everyone," said Hyland. "So she told my dad, she actually went over to my mom’s and sat her down and told her about everything that I’d said." On learning the news, it all fell into place for Stevenson. "So for me it really made sense," Mat told The Project on learning his daughter was trans. "All through Grace’s early years, she would gravitate to all things female. And when I saw Grace run towards authenticity and just jump over all the hurdles to do so, I, without doubt, had a front-row seat to the most courageous thing I’d seen."
When asked if she ever considered it was a 'phase,' Hyland shut down the common argument, stating that going through the wrong puberty can be life-threatening. "If you let someone who identifies as trans go through the wrong puberty, they have to live with certain body characteristics that they can never get rid off," said Hyland. "As dramatic as this may sound if I was forced to go through male puberty, I genuinely don't think I would still be here. It would have destroyed me," said Grace. Trans people are also viciously bullied and attacked which makes it harder for them. According to Beyond Bullying, a survey from 2014 showed that 83% of trans young people say they have experienced name-calling and 35% have experienced physical attacks.
She added that it's not as simple as making a decision, and visited a gender clinic for a year before taking any medication. The decision to start testosterone blockers was made with doctors, psychologists, and psychiatrists supporting her all the way through. By the time she was 14, she was "fully presenting as Grace to the public and at school." She often shares her journey and answers questions on transitioning on her TikTok. To those still struggling with their identity, Grace says, "It's okay to feel how you feel. You don't have to know all of the answers straight away. These things take time."