In 1997, a person called Richard Hernandez was working as a vice president for one of America’s leading banks. But that year, an HIV diagnosis changed this life forever. Now, this same person uses the pronoun “she” and is on her way to becoming not only a transgender and transsexual person but a trans-species individual, as she calls it! Eva Tiamat Medusa is now 56 years old and roughly halfway through her transition to becoming something of a human reptile.
Abandoned by her parents at the age of five, Medusa grew up to transcend her barriers and become very successful. The shock of being diagnosed with HIV, however, caused her to reevaluate what she wanted from life – and what she wanted was to “not die a human.” “Before my transformation, I was vice president of one of the largest banks in the U.S. and I left when because I became HIV positive and feared I was going to die. My big thing though was I didn’t want to die in this world looking like a human,” Medusa explained, adding, “as much awesomeness and goodness there is in humans, compared to other species they are the most destructive and hateful. I decided at that time, that it was time for a change in my life, so I wanted to look like something that wasn’t human,” This goal of becoming “more than human” is an intensely complicated one and has led Medusa to many surgeries and body modifications.
So far, to pay for the almost full-body scale tattoos and lots of plastic surgery, including the rhinoplasty required to remove her ears, Medusa has spent $58 400 on her transformation. She has also had horns installed on her head in many different places, and the whites of her eyes permanently stained green. She adds, “I have eight horns on my forehead; I have had my ears removed; my nose reshaped; most of my teeth removed; I’ve had the white-part of my eyes stained; my tongue bifurcated; my whole face is tattooed and I’ve had some scarification and branding on my chest and wrist.” She has enjoyed the entire process so far and plans to spend another $39 000 on more transformations to continue what will push her even further into the category of “trans-species.” She said that the journey is all part of it; “For me, my transformation is the greatest journey of my life. There are profound reasons and deep meanings about my transformation and why I’m doing it.”
“I hope that my story will help other people – not only those who have gone through hard times, but also people who have lost hope. I myself know what it’s like to be at that point,” Medusa said. “I consider myself not just to be human anymore; I’m human and reptilian. My greatest desire in life is to continue my body modification until my metamorphosis is complete. This is what drives me – this is the reason why I get up every day and live.” In opening up a conversation about trans-species, Medusa also hopes to help facilitate dialogue surrounding other trans people. “There’s a lot of misunderstanding about what it means to be transsexual and then further than that – something that I’m introducing – the idea of trans-speciesism,” she added.