Dad Inspired by Transgender Daughter to Design Clothing Line for Transgender Kids

by Kevin Schattenkirk

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Friday January 22, 2021

Rubies clothing line
Rubies clothing line  (Source:RUBIES - Form-fitting clothing for trans girls)

A Toronto father of a transgender daughter has created a new line of clothing for transgender kids, profiled in a new feature by Today.

Jamie Alexander decided to develop the Rubies line after 12 year-old daughter Ruby had trouble finding bikini bottoms that allowed her to feel comfortable and confident in public. And so, the first product for the line was the Ruby Shaping Bikini Bottom.

Speaking with TODAY Parents, Alexander explained that he and his wife were aware early on that Ruby had a penchant for high heels, Disney princesses, and the song "Single Ladies" by Beyoncé — and what this might mean for their daughter's sexual orientation and/or gender identity. The couple, with the assistance of their public school system, gave Ruby space and support in figuring out her identity. They said by grade 3, Ruby had it figured out.

But when it comes to our bodies and how we dress, clothing that inspires confidence is essential. Jessica Hethel, who co-authored the children's book "I Am Jazz" with Jazz Jennings, a transgender activist, said "An item of clothing like Rubies swimwear can be a total game-changer for transgender and gender-creative children.

"Being able to do something that most of us take for granted — namely, to go swimming without fear of being stared at or teased, or even targeted — can give a child a feeling of normalcy and belonging."

After interviewing 50-60 families who participate in Facebook groups for parents of transgender children, Alexander realized that the issue at hand was solving a practical problem. "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. 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."

Alexander developed a prototype of a bikini bottom with spandex on the outside and a mesh liner inside to "gently compress and 'keep things in' without causing discomfort." In December 2019, 25 samples were sent to families in North America and Australia to provide Alexander with feedback on the product. Because of its success, the Rubies line has expanded to include other similar items such as underwear.

Ultimately, Alexander says of his goal with Rubies, "I want to focus on the positive stories about these kids and normalize them. They're just kids. That how people need to see them."

Herthel commends Alexander: "The world needs more dads like Jamie Alexander who don't just accept their children's gender, but celebrate it."

Kevin Schattenkirk is an ethnomusicologist and pop music aficionado.

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