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This Dad Created a Trans-Friendly Swimwear Line Inspired By His Daughter

Jamie and Ruby Alexander are helping trans youth feel comfortable and safe in their swimwear.

He may be Ruby’s father, but Jamie Alexander is a hero to many. When preparing for a beach trip to Panama with his pre-teen daughter, who is transgender, he realized there was a lack of bikini bottoms that would make her feel comfortable and safe in her own skin. "It’s a general fear that you do’'t want your kid to be sort of called out," he said to CBC News in 2020. "Someone doesn’t feel comfortable and they feel that it’s a potential safety issue."

This is when the idea for Rubies, form-fitting clothing for trans girls, was born. The father-daughter duo launched their first item, the Ruby Shaping Bikini Bottom, with the support of a Facebook sounding board of 50 to 60 families. The bathing suit is made with smoothing compression technology that helps keep everything in place when swimming, dancing or just being a kid. As time goes on, the company continues to modify and improve on the style even more.

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In order to have these items be accessible for all, Alexander wanted to make sure the price point was within reason without sacrificing the quality. An entrepreneur and tech start-up vet, he worked with Ryerson University’s tech start-up incubator THE DMZ to craft the perfect line. “Everything I saw was heavily branded just to trans people and had a quilted pad in the front,” he told the TODAY Show. “They didn’t look like normal bikinis. 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.”

The solution-oriented brand sent the style to 25 families in North America in 2019 to ask for feedback, which was then implemented to build Rubies. With satisfied customers ranging in age and size, the company goes up to a size 20, the line has expanded to undergarments and one-piece suits. The newest creation is the first of its kind bra that is being developed for non-binary teens.

And let’s not forget about its No. 1 fan and muse, Ruby, who started identifying socially as a female as a young child. "I think he’s amazing," she said of her dad.