Ruby Alexander simply needed to go to the seashore.
As a transgender 11-year-old, she struggled to find comfortable, well-fitting bikini bottoms.
So, her dad made them.
That was two years in the past. And since then, RUBIES — the clothes model the dad-daughter duo in Toronto created — has shipped over 500 pairs to transgender women world wide.
The bikini bottoms incorporate compression spandex and mesh to supply a compact match, so that transgender women can really feel comfortable doing the identical actions as their cisgender buddies.
“The response has been superb,” Ruby mentioned.
“I’m so completely happy to see all the youngsters that may get again into having fun with the actions they love, like swimming, dance and gymnastics.”
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A childhood transition
At 3 years outdated, Ruby cherished her mom’s excessive heels and the drama of Disney princesses — pursuits her dad, Jamie Alexander, referred to as “gender-creative.”
“She would take a mattress sheet and wrap it round her hair, and go up the steps and throw the sheet down the steps,” Alexander mentioned. “That is when ‘Tangled’ got here out. She was at all times the princess.”
‘I wish to be a woman, I wish to be a woman’
Ruby’s mother and father had joined a group established by the Toronto public college system for fogeys of gender-creative children.
When Ruby was 8, Alexander mentioned, among the children within the group had begun to transition. Alexander instructed Ruby that she might too, if she needed to.
On daily basis for a whereas, I’d simply be like, ‘I wish to be a woman, I wish to be a woman,’” she mentioned.
Quickly after, Ruby come out to her total college.
Some college students, she mentioned, stared at her or requested questions on her anatomy. However many applauded and cheered.
“That saying the place there’s a weight and it goes off your shoulder … it felt like that,” she mentioned.
Restricted bikini choices for trans women
Ruby was 11 when she instructed her dad she needed to put on a bikini like her buddies, Alexander mentioned.
Her mother and father purchased her one, and Ruby was proud of it. However Alexander mentioned they apprehensive it might draw undesirable consideration due to its in poor health match.
When the household determined to take a journey overseas, they felt nervous about Ruby’s security. They didn’t know if she’d be accepted there.
After coming back from the journey, Alexander started working. There have been a few swimwear manufacturers for trans children, however none that Ruby felt comfortable in.
“I purchased every thing I might,” he mentioned. “I even received sure issues sewed…For Ruby, she didn’t prefer it. It didn’t really feel like a bikini.”
With a background in tech entrepreneurship, Alexander created a bikini that he mentioned each seemed and felt like one. Whereas different bikinis Ruby tried felt cumbersome, he mentioned, the RUBIES bikini bottoms are made with a smooth and trendy slot in thoughts.
A worldwide neighborhood
At present, RUBIES’ marketing campaign, Every Girl Deserves to Shine, ships free bikini bottoms world wide to those that can’t afford them.
“Having a trans child spans geographies,” Alexander mentioned. “Relying on the place they’re, they won’t have the helps that we now have.”
Intent on reaching individuals across the globe, Alexander has lately translated the RUBIES web site into 5 different languages: German, Spanish, French, Portuguese and Chinese language.
Alexander mentioned most individuals exterior of Canada find RUBIES by way of Fb help teams or by trying to find “trans women clothes” on the Web.
He has shipped to international locations together with Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Spain and Italy to this point.
It’s not unusual, he mentioned, to listen to from individuals who appear “distressed” about their or their kids’s gender id. When this occurs, he asks in the event that they wish to have a Zoom name.
“I’m at all times completely happy to try this,” he mentioned. “To speak with individuals and share my data.”
Ruby, now 13, mentioned she retains busy writing postcards to those that order a bikini, additionally weighing in on designs, cloth and colours for merchandise.
Alexander mentioned the method has been thrilling for her, as alternatives come up and merchandise — like a one-piece swimsuit and underwear — are being developed.
“My future hope is for trans children to not be judged,” Ruby mentioned. “I would like all women, and all trans children, to only really feel comfortable about their physique.”