Greg Marshall’s Discovery of His ‘Leg’
Today, we’re joined by someone who has had cerebral palsy since he was born, but no one ever told him that he had CP or even that he had a disability. It was not until Greg Marshall was in his early thirties and applying for private health insurance for the first time that he learned, through a review of childhood medical records, that he actually had cerebral palsy. Up until that point, he just thought he had tight tendons, which was the line his parents used to explain why his feet and legs didn’t work like other kids his age.
Greg Marshall takes us on a journey of discovery in his new book, Leg: The Story of a Limb and the Boy Who Grew From It. It’s a memoir not only about learning he had CP, but about a mom who fights cancer, a dad who gets diagnosed with ALS, and a sister on the autism spectrum. And it’s a coming out story: coming out as gay at age 19, and then coming out as disabled in his early thirties. The book is poignant and also incredibly funny and tells this unique story of a kid who grew up in a small town in Utah where the only person who didn’t know he had a disability was himself.
In our interview, Greg Marshall tells us about growing up not knowing he had a disability and the impact this had on his relationships with family, partners, and most importantly, himself. Coming out as gay helped him to come out as disabled when he discovered his diagnosis of cerebral palsy in his thirties. Greg reflects on his family dynamics and caregiving, how disability made him a better lover, and how he shifted the self-critical voices of internalized ableism to a more gentle and accepting narrative embracing his many identities.