This is so lovely.
Ever since Jamie Alexander’s daughter, Ruby, told him she was really a girl, the Toronto-based dad has thrown himself into fighting for transgender children’s rights and normalising being who you really are.
Most recently, Alexander and Ruby, 12, has created a line of swimwear and underwear for transgender girls to help them feel more comfortable and confident every day.
In an interview, Alexander explained how he had come to realise how limited the clothing market is for transgender children.
“Everything I saw was heavily branded just to trans people and had a quilted pad in the front. They didn’t look like normal bikinis,” he said.
“I wanted to create a garment that looks and feels like a regular bikini and a brand that resonates with kids, not just trans kids.”
He reveals that the idea for the form-fitting clothing line came to him while their family was about to head off on a holiday, and he realised that regular swimwear wouldn’t make Ruby feel comfortable and would leave her unable to enjoy all the same activities as her friends.
Realising he wanted to do something about this, Alexander reached out and interviewed 50-60 families of transgender girls online to see what he could do to help.
With the help of Ryerson University’s tech start-up incubator The DMZ, Jamie designed the Ruby Shaping Bikini Bottom.
The range is available in kids sizes 4-24, and the spandex bikini bottoms are made with soft compression material that “provides worry-free comfort and helps keep everything in place,” according to the Rubies website.
Once the swimwear was available, it wasn’t long before Alexander learned that families were also buying the comfortable bikini bottoms as underwear for their kids, inspiring him to expand the swimwear collection to include a pair of cotton underwear that’s more functional for everyday use.
“We know firsthand the challenges of transitioning facing both the girls and their families,” the Rubies website reads. “So we are also here to support: to encourage conversations and share experiences, to connect and make new friends, to give each other courage when we feel a little short on it. Above all, we are here to ensure that every trans girl has the freedom to be who she is, wherever she is — and to shine.”
In addition to providing comfort and security, the dad-daughter duo is hoping to spark an open converation around shared experiences in the transgender community and ensure that transgender girls everywhere are heard.
“[The bikini bottoms] make me feel really confident and proud of who I am,” Ruby said in an interview on CBC Metro Morning last year.
“I’m really grateful that [my dad] is doing this because I think there’s a lot of trans girls out there who, when they wear a bathing suit, they feel judged by people who see them wearing it. And I’m really, really happy that my dad is making this because it’s gonna save a lot of trans girls and I think they’re gonna feel more comfortable and happy.”