When it comes to the world of extreme body modifications, Tia Legion Medusa might just take the cake for the wildest and most complete transformation ever. Known as Tiamat, it - Tiamat prefers non-gendered pronouns - has undergone thousands of dollars in procedures to become a dragon.
Tiamat sees itself as a trans-species reptoid, and it is currently covered in tattoos of scales, along with body implants, piercings, and other reptoid features. Tiamat has even gone so far as to alter its nose, ears, and tongue in order to look more like a dragon. These procedures were done by a Venezuelan body modification artist rather than a doctor or plastic surgeon, and Tiamat has more procedures planned in its transformation.
Though met with criticism from some, Tiamat's overall message is one of acceptance for not only trans-species individuals, but those who are transgender or HIV positive as well - two communities Tiamat belongs to; as Tiamat would say, "with love from Oblivion."
For 20 years, Tiamat has been gradually transforming itself into a dragon - a process that so far has cost about $60,000. Thus far, the dragon transformation has included implants to look like horns, ear removal, nose modification, dyeing the eyes, implants around the eyebrows, cutting the tongue so it's forked, and full-body tattoos to look like scales. Tiamat claims to be the "first and only person to have both ears cosmetically removed."
The "double van Gogh," or cutting back the ears, is Tiamat's most recent operation. The reshaping and cutting back of the nose was actually inspired by Voldemort, the villain from Harry Potter.
Once a vice president at Chase Bank, Tiamat - then Richard Hernandez - left after learning it was HIV positive. "My big thing though was I didn't want to [perish] in this world looking like a human," Tiamat said. Though recognizing that there is good in humanity, Tiamat maintained that "compared to other species, they [humans] are the most destructive and hateful." Tiamat did not want its demise to occur in that state.
Tiamat is HIV+ and says: "I want to raise awareness and erase the stigma. There is so much stigma out there about being HIV positive." Tiamat also wants to inspire others and give them hope because of what it has gone through in life.
Not only is Tiamat becoming a dragon - Tiamat it is also seeking to become genderless. Though Tiamat lived as a gay man for 53 years and then became a transsexual woman, it sees itself as genderless. Tiamat has long wanted to undergo "complete emasculation."
Tiamat said that removing its testicles was very empowering and liberating.
Tiamat was born as Richard Hernandez in 1961 near Phoenix, AZ, to parents who were migrant workers. At age 5, Richard's parents abandoned him. Tiamat said: "I think I was in the first grade when my mother and my step-dad ended up taking us close to where my grandparents live actually on the property of the ranch and abandoned myself and two of my siblings." That ranch was near Houston, and Tiamat still lives in the area in Edna, TX.
So despite being born to human parents, Tiamat sees its true parent as the western diamondback rattlesnake, and its body modification pays homage to the rattlesnake. Richard Hernandez was not understood by his family, and he left home and eventually fathered a child.
Richard Hernandez started to become Tiamat after its son shunned him. "I am hoping that when he sees me now, he will look at a beautiful dragon instead of seeing his father who made mistakes and not a perfect dad," Tiamat said in a 2016 interview.