By Maria Morava and Jay Croft, CNN
February 6, 2021
|Jamie Alexander poses with
his daughter, Ruby Alexander
Ruby Alexander just wanted to go to the beach.
As a transgender 11-year-old, she struggled to find comfortable, well-fitting bikini bottoms.
So, her dad made them.
That was two years ago. And since then, RUBIES -- the clothing brand the dad-daughter duo in Toronto created -- has shipped over 500 pairs to transgender girls around the world.
The bikini bottoms incorporate compression spandex and mesh to provide a compact fit, so that transgender girls can feel comfortable doing the same activities as their cisgender friends.
"The response has been amazing," Ruby said. "I am so happy to see all the kids that can get back into enjoying the activities they love, like swimming, dance and gymnastics."
A childhood transition
At 3 years old, Ruby loved her mother's high heels and the drama of Disney princesses -- interests her dad, Jamie Alexander, called "gender-creative."
"She would take a bed sheet and wrap it around her hair, and go up the stairs and throw the sheet down the stairs," Alexander said. "This is when 'Tangled' came out. She was always the princess."
Ruby's parents had joined a group established by the Toronto public school system for parents of gender-creative kids.
When Ruby was 8, Alexander said, some of the kids in the group had begun to transition. Alexander told Ruby that she could too, if she wanted to.
Ruby told CNN she was excited about her dad's offer -- and impatient.
"Every day for a while, I'd just be like, 'I want to be a girl, I want to be a girl,'" she said.
Soon after, Ruby come out to her entire school.
Some students, she said, stared at her or asked questions about her anatomy. But many applauded and cheered.
"That saying where there's a weight and it goes off your shoulder ... it felt like that," she said.
Alexander said the process has been exciting for her, as opportunities arise and products -- like a one-piece swimsuit and underwear -- are being developed. Ruby said:
My future hope is for trans kids to not be judged. I want all girls, and all trans kids, to just feel comfortable about their body."