A Toronto dad has received endless praise after he created the most amazing swimwear brand for trans kids in celebration of his daughter.
And now, he's sharing more of his and his daughter's journey. This is one of the most heartwarming stories you'll read...
Now, let's start with the facts.
What exactly is gender dysphoria?
Gender dysphoria involves a conflict between a person's sex and the gender with which he, she, or they identify with. People with gender dysphoria experience high levels of discomfort with their own bodies, and they often report feeling as if it isn't their own.
It is more commonly known as being "transgender."
GettyPeople who are transgender more than often realize that they are from a very young age - children are able to experience gender dysphoria and this is when the majority of trans people realize this conflict.
It is a heartbreaking reality that many trans children face rejection from their families.According to the Human Rights Campaign, studies have shown that familial rejection can lead to the LGBTQ+ youth engaging in behaviors and activities that endanger their health, trigger depression, and other mental health issues, and, in some extreme cases, can lead to homelessness and suicide.
Family support is one of the most important things for a child coming out as trans.Child welfare expert, Caitlin Ryan, stated that “family acceptance predicts greater self-esteem, social support, and general health status," for LGBTQ+ youth. “It also protects against depression, substance abuse, and suicidal ideation and behaviors - issues for which transgender youth are at disproportionate risk."
Coming out as transgender and beginning the transition will never be easy...
GettyDespite this being what a person desires, the first few steps into transition are never easy, especially for a child. Enduring taunting in the school corridors from their peers who are too uninformed to understand the situation is a sad reality for many trans children.
Thankfully, the LGBTQ+ community is bigger than ever today.
Families around the world are now more accepting than ever...
And one dad recently did something incredible for all transgender teenagers.
After seeing his transgender daughter struggle with bikini options, Jamie Alexander decided to take matters into his own hands.
The devoted father was concerned after he saw how uncomfortable twelve-year-old Ruby, who socially transitioned into a girl at the age of 9, felt while wearing bathing suits.
So, his own swimwear line, Rubies, was born.
The website states:
"RUBIES was conceived when Jamie and his 11-year-old daughter Ruby, were packing for their first adventure in Central America. Jamie felt nervous: what should Ruby wear to the beach in a country that may not be ready for a girl like her? With that came a bigger question: how could he help girls like Ruby enjoy the same activities as their friends – with the same level of comfort and confidence and no matter where they went?"
Jamie has since shared Ruby's story...
"Ruby's relationship with girls clothing and shoes as she navigated her gender identity may have started as early as 3 years old," he said.
Although at first, Jamie just assumed walking around in high heels and dresses was something all kids do.
However, when Ruby was 4 he picked up on other signs. "We went to the beach often, and while some kids chose to swim in the lake or build sandcastles, Ruby would spend hours fashioning her towel into a skirt. Once she got it just right, she would sashay along the beach as though she was in a photo shoot," he said.
When she turned 5, Ruby became obsessed with princesses.
Jamie recalled, "Ruby always wanted to act out the movie Tangled — with me as the prince and her as Rapunzel. Her head was always wrapped up in multiple bedsheets, knotted together, and dangling down a flight of stairs to aid her rescue. That performance ran every day for a solid year."
Ruby would even wear sports bras and leggings she borrowed from her friends at school.
She made it clear that she was ready to transition.
With Ruby being involved in many extracurricular activities such as swimming and gymnastics, the anxiety surrounding form-fitting clothing became a concern...
"Ruby just wants to wear the same clothes as most of her girlfriends. In some cases, it seemed she wouldn't be able to do so safely until I started exploring options for trans girls. I discovered there are a few places where you can buy bikinis and underwear geared toward trans people. Ruby has tried a few with varying levels of success," Jamie said.
This led Jamie to think about making clothes for trans children.
And that's when his swimsuit line with Ruby was born.
Designing clothing with the beach, the gym, the pool, and dance lessons in mind...
The aim is to help transgender children and teens feel more comfortable without compromising style.
The first product designed was the Ruby Shaping Bikini Bottom...
Which, described on the website, is a "no-nonsense bikini bottom in pink [that] will give her support in all the right places. It magically turns a pointy poker into a dainty dune. No tucking required."
For his initial research, Jamie interviewed between fifty and sixty different families in Facebook groups for parents of transgender children.
He then asked them what they - both as parents and as children - wanted to see in future transgender swimwear lines.
From this, his designer made a prototype bikini bottom using spandex on the outside with a mesh liner that is able to gently compress and "pull things in" without causing discomfort.
Jamie then sent samples to twenty-five families across North America and Australia in December 2019 to solicit feedback.
"The key was, they had to functionally work," he said.
Thankfully, the feedback was positive.
And now, as a result, Jamie has expanded RUBIES to provide not only bikini bottoms, but real underwear, one-piece swimsuits, and branded T-shirts.
Here's an example of RUBIES bikini bottoms, modelled by none other than Ruby herself.
An experienced entrepreneur, Jamie told today.com about his experience with other transgender clothing:
"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."
His goal, he says, is to make the lives of trans children like his own daughter better - and more unremarkable.
"I want to focus on the positive stories about these kids and normalize them," he said. "They're just kids. That's how people need to see them."
Jamie is now expanding the company to include real underwear made with cotton fabric.
What an incredible dad!
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