Feeling comfortable, completely yourself and supported in swimwear can be difficult. Especially so for a transgender child. When Jamie Alexander couldn’t find anything cute or secure for his transgender daughter, Ruby, to wear on holiday, he took matters into his own hands. What was born out of necessity for inclusion was RUBIES, the trans-celebrating clothing company.
Planned Parenthood rightly claims that “people’s gender identities can be different from the sex they were assigned at birth”. In Ruby’s case, it meant she was ‘assigned male at birth’, often referred to as AMAB.
As reported by UCLA School of Law, nearly one in five people who identify as transgender are actually ages 13-17. Despite this volume, trans-friendly bikinis and one-piece swimsuits for kids are still few and far between.
RUBIES is here to fill the gap in the market. It produces inclusive swimwear and form-fitting clothes suitable for trans tweens and teens. It’s perfect for transgender sports players, and kids who just want to feel like themselves.
How RUBIES was founded
According to the trans-friendly clothing site, RUBIES “wants every active trans girl to be as confident and comfortable in her clothes as her friends”. This ethos came to father-of-one, Jamie when his daughter, Ruby, expressed wanting to wear a bikini to the beach “like her girlfriends.”
“Whenever we went to the beach or gymnastics we’d be putting her in boy clothing. Boardshorts for swimming… She reluctantly agreed”. Jamie says to CBC Metro Morning.
However, following a planned vacation to Panama, Ruby, 11, said “I just want to wear a bikini bottom like all of my other friends.”
According to Humans Rights Watch, Panama may not be the safest place for LGBTQ+ individuals to vacation. Reports say that “same-sex couples are invisible to the state”. Apparently, Panama also does not “have a gender identity law that allows transgender people to have documents that reflect their gender identity” either.
Ruby’s gender representation and also “wanting to see what was out there to keep her safe”, led Jamie to discover there wasn’t much in the way of trans-friendly beachwear. “We found there was a real missing item”, says Jamie. And from that, RUBIES was born.
According to Bright Side, in October 2019, Jamie took a leap of faith by leaving a prestigious CTO position at a software company. Gaining a scholarship to Ryerson University in Toronto, Jamie therefore threw himself head-first into learning about fashion. At the university, he met textile engineer, Olena Vicharyuk who helped develop the first RUBIES bikini bottoms. Once fashion engineer, Cat joined the team – the first 20 samples were sent off. The rest, as they say, is history.
The RUBIES Bikini Bottoms
Designed with “confidence for the beach” in mind, each pair of RUBIES bikini bottoms provides worry-free comfort. Made from compression spandex and also breathable mesh, the bikini bottoms provide a smooth fit. The best part? They don’t require your teen to tuck.
Ruby, who transitioned when she was nine, told Good Morning America “[the bikini bottoms] will make you feel confident and the girl or person that you are at the beach.”
Handmade in Downton Toronto, the shaping bikini bottoms currently come in a variety of colours (we’re obsessed with the Unicorn version). They also inclusively run in sizes 4-24. According to the RUBIES sites, adults should also be able to fit into the larger sizes of this innovative product.
Regarding the RUBIES bikini bottoms, Ruby told CBC Metro Morning, “I don’t just feel that I am a trans girl. I’m just a regular girl who is wearing the same bikini bottoms as all of my other girlfriends.”
RUBIES Every Girl Deserves To Shine Campaign
The bikini bottoms are also only the beginning of RUBIES. Now, the company produces everything from shaping underwear to chest pads and multiway swimming costumes. Amongst the game-changing swimwear is the charity T-shirts. 100% of sale profits from the T-shirts fund RUBIES’ ‘Every Girl Deserves To Shine’ campaign.
The campaign’s mission is simple, be able to support thousands of families with transgender children across the US. This is achieved by RUBIES sending out 1000 pairs of bikini bottoms to families in need. To qualify for free, supportive swimwear for a child you know, all you have to do is fill out an application here.
You can easily become an active supporter of the RUBIES Every Girl Deserves To Shine Campaign. Firstly, you can donate directly via its Gofundme page. Secondly, you can purchase a kids T-shirt, adults T-shirt or fitted T-shirt with the campaign’s slogan. Or, you can send a postcard to a trans girl with messages of encouragement.
According to the Every Girl Deserves To Shine campaign page, the aim is to raise “$100,000”. This will “sponsor sending thousands of pairs of swimwear to families in need. The proceeds will help fund the onboarding of 1000 families,”. It continues that the funds also go towards, “manufacturing and delivery of the swimwear as well as the production of a worldwide storytelling video highlighting these courageous kids.”
If you are outside of the US, no problem! RUBIES also ships internationally. If you purchase internationally and find your orders are levied a duty fee, the leading site for transgender beach coverups says it’ll offer you a refund.
“For our international customer, if your orders are levied a duty fee entering your country, we are happy to cover the cost. Just reach out and email a receipt and we will send you a refund.”
Expect to wait between six to ten business days for smooth swimwear and transgender underwear to reach a child overseas. But for a product this good? We know it will be worth the wait.
RUBIES Next Steps and Beyond
It’s no doubt that RUBIES is helping change transgender lives. But Jamie doesn’t want to limit the company to clothing.
“My mission with RUBIES is to help connect families with like-minded children who are within visiting distance of each other,” adds Jamie to Bright Side. “I am planning to create a searchable map of local LGBTQ+ support groups, particularly those that offer containment to children and their parents. I have a project called RUBIES Friends to connect parents and children, so they can meet in person locally.”
Jamie and Ruby are making the world a safer, more inclusive place for transgender children. For more information, visit the RUBIES website.
We have reached out to RUBIES for a comment.
Feature Image Credit: