It’s a transformation that’s included 18 horn implants, the removal of both ears and splitting the tongue so it’s become forked.
Tiamat Legion Medusa is on a mission to become a genderless reptile.
“People think that modified people, especially those who go to great extremes to look like something in a sci-fi film, are losers and dumb as dirt,” Tiamat, who was born Richard Hernandez, says.
“In my past life as a man, I was a banking vice-president at one of the nation’s largest financial institutions.
“I want people to know that modified people are just as intelligent, kind, loving, and good as anyone else. Just because I had my ears removed, doesn’t mean my brain just rolled out and I’m just a blithering idiot.”
Tiamat, who prefers to be referred to as “it” instead of “he” or “she”, was physically and verbally abused as a child and says this influenced its decision to become a reptile.
“I was eventually abandoned by my parents in the middle of the woods, at night, deep in the heart of South Texas, where the western diamondback rattlesnake abounds,” Tiamat recalls. “It was then, when my human parents shoved me out of the car to leave me there like unwanted trash, that I adopted the venomous rattler as my parents.”
Since the beginning of its transformation in 1997, Tiamat has had its nose removed and reshaped like that of Harry Potter character Lord Voldemort, 32 teeth removed, six teeth sharpened to points and the whites of its eyes stained green.
Tiamat, who also goes by the name Dragon Lady, started the transformation with a pair of horns that cost £330 (now R6 100), motivated by an HIV and later Aids diagnosis.
“Because I thought I was going to die, I started modifying my body as I felt I was in a race against time.
“I was the fifth person in the world to get horns on their cranium and at the time the modern-day body modification movement was just in its inception.
“Getting them was what set the wheels in motion for what’s become the greatest journey of my life, my reptilian metamorphosis.”
Next year, Tiamat plans to tattoo rainbow scales all over its skin, add to its existing horn implants and have purple ink tattooed on its eyeballs.
But top on the list of surgical procedures is the removal of its penis.
“Top of my priorities is to say goodbye to Mr Bojangles, my penis, as soon as possible,” it says.
Tiamat admits it attracts a lot of unwanted negative attention, like being verbally attacked and spat on, but adds it will never stop being true to itself because there are children to inspire.
“Regardless of all the ugliness people fling at me, what gives me the courage to keep on being me is the look on the children’s faces. They gaze at me with wonderment in their eyes.”