Former Home and Away Star Mat Stevenson’s perspective as a parent of a transgender child has opened up.
Last night’s The Sunday Project, the actor—who played Adam Cameron on the soap from 1989 to 1994—spoke with host Lisa Wilkinson and his 20-year-old daughter Grace.
Explaining how she knew she was trans for the first time, Grace said she was just four years old when she thought she was in the wrong body.
“I couldn’t describe it to you. I figured I was strange or cursed for a life of unhappiness,” she said.
It wasn’t until almost a decade later that she told her mother-in-law to write her feelings down on a post-it note.
“Initially, I was too scared to say that I was a transgender woman, but she was really supportive and helped me navigate to tell everyone,” she said.
Once said, Stevenson said “made sense” of stuff.
“All through Grace’s years, she would gravitate to all feminine things,” he said.
“When I saw Grace run towards authenticity and run across all the hurdles to do so, I had a front row seat to the most brave thing I’ve ever seen.”
Wilkinson asked the pair to conclude that trans children should go through puberty before they could transition, if 12 could have been too early to start the process.
This isn’t anything where you go to the doctor, say you’re a trans, get your prescription, and go out, Grace said.
I’ve been seeing the Gender Clinic for a year before I was offered a single drug. It was a decision reached with physicians, psychologists and psychiatrists.
It’s not something that’s taken lightly.
With trans teens 36 times more likely to be self-harm or suicide, Grace acknowledged that she would not have done so if she had been forced to go through male puberty.
If you let anyone who identifies as trans go through the wrong puberty, they have to live with those aspects of the body that they can never get rid of and that can be crippling. People are killing themselves because of this, she said.
If I were forced to go through male puberty, I just don’t think I’d still be here. It’d have killed me.
Although he struggled initially to make his son his daughter, Stevenson said he was proud to see how brave Grace had been.
At first, it was a little uncomfortable naming Grace sweetheart instead of a friend and feminising my approach, he said.
But when I look at the obstacles and difficulties of sharing that with the challenges that Grace has faced, they are pale in definition.
As she went through quarantine last year, Grace started a TikTok page—grace.hylandd—and amassed 130,000 followers.
Although she’s gained attention through videos, including one where she scored Bumble’s answer after telling potential dates she’s trans, she’s also been the victim of trolls.
I still have to fight with that… When people make such remarks to brave people who are trying to navigate their identity, it’s like a loaded gun, said her father.
Though she said she couldn’t care less about the remarks, Grace said she was worried about how other people could be affected, but encouraged the parents of transgender children to provide much-needed support.
“They can have a happy life with your support,” she said.