Mela Swayze’s new book encourages self-discovery and reflection on gender

Abonti Nur Ahmed
February 9, 2023
Est. Reading Time: 3 minutes

Gender Remix, a new workbook by Mela Swayze, approaches the topic of gender in an inquisitive and supportive manner 

Gender is a complex aspect of one’s identity, leading people to great lengths of self-discovery. The complexity of such an identity can be daunting and often hard to navigate. The work of Mela Swayze, a consultant, educator and writer of Gender Remix, aims to help people better understand and connect with their gender identity. 

Swayze released Gender Remix as a workbook for those who identify as trans, non-binary or gender diverse. The goal of the workbook was to help guide those who are looking into their own identity, whether that be with a coach or a therapist or alone. In December all of the proceeds from the book went to Speqtrum Hamilton, an organization that supports queer youth in Hamilton. 

“Gender remix is a workbook that [is] designed for people who are trans, non-binary, gender diverse or otherwise exploring their gender. . . It has resources exercises [and] writing prompts, so it's definitely designed for those who like self-reflection [and] those who like a good journal prompt,”

Mela Swayze, Consultant, educator and writer of Gender Remix

The workbook has a journal-like design to encourage self-reflection. It goes chapter by chapter to communicate the idea of gender as something that isn’t so binary. The book is also accessible and compatible with assistive devices.  

Swayze believes initiatives like Gender Remix are a way to give structure at a time when someone may be overwhelmed. Though it may not be for everyone, they found that many of their own clients discovered solace in quite a few of the included information within the workbook. Additionally, they hope that with workbooks like this, more people will see that they aren’t alone in this realm of self-discovery. 

“For some people who might be at the beginning of exploring their gender identity, it can be a lot to digest and a lot to process. . . Having a bit of structure to guide you in bite sized pieces helps people to digest and process a little more easily,” said Swayze. 

The process of creating the workbook was based heavily on the work Swayze has done with their own clients and through workshops. To them, it was important to have the workbook be from lived experiences of many people rather than having their own set of rules dictate the journey.  

They found that over the course of their work, folks exploring their gender had similar overarching topics. These topics became focuses in the workbook, with an emphasis on self-reflecting rather simply being told how one should feel.  

“The work with trans and gender diverse clients definitely informed the creation of the workbook rather than vice versa,” said Swayze. 

The response from the community has been very encouraging. They’ve had coaches, therapists and organizations all commend the workbook and actively use it in their own practice. Swayze also noted someone in Colorado Springs purchased the workbook, following the shooting that occurred in a 2SLGBTQI+ club in the area. They found it to be very meaningful that the workbook could support people in moments of crisis. 

Every person is entitled to their own story. Swayze believes understandings one’s gender identity is an important aspect to receiving and being open to experiencing love. Ultimately, by having one’s own support system through self-exploration, it can encourage self-acceptance and love. It isn’t telling others that makes the difference, but feeling as though they have the option if they feel comfortable doing so. 

“It's a lot easier to receive love when we are being our true selves in the world, whatever that is and whatever that means to you. It doesn't mean necessarily that you're the type of person who wants to shout your identity from a rooftop, but even small disclosures to a partner or a close friend or a queer chosen family can be really meaningful,”

Mela Swayze, Consultant, educator and writer of Gender Remix

Gender identity is something that varies for every single person, sometimes without support the journey to find oneself can become daunting. Though everyone occupies gender differently, Swayze introduces a stepping stone that can support someone who is learning more about themselves. The hope is that by understanding and accepting the nuances of gender identity, people can feel safer in their own bodies.  


  • Abonti Nur Ahmed

    Abonti is in her third year of the Life Sciences program. Abonti has loved the idea of sharing stories through writing since she was a child. Beyond writing for The Sil she is often reading dystopian fiction, hanging out with friends or trying to find the motivation to go to the gym.

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