New memoir 'Leg' explores gay pride and how author didn't know he had cerebral palsy until he was 30

Greg Marshall's comedic memoir is about his life punctuated with lies, life-altering deceit starting with the lie about his leg

ByReggie Aqui KGO logo
Monday, June 12, 2023
New memoir 'Leg' explores gay pride, secret disability, cerebral palsy
In Greg Marshall's book "Leg," he discusses his unusual journey of coming out twice. First, as a gay man, and as a person living with cerebral palsy.

SAN FRANCISCO -- Growing up with a disability is one thing. Growing up with a disability that has been kept secret from you for decades while you deal with being gay, having a mom going through chemotherapy and a father dying of ALS is... On. Another. Level.

We haven't even gotten to the part where a boyfriend hides a devastating secret.

And yet, somehow, Greg Marshall's debut book "Leg" is a comedic memoir.

"I wouldn't want to read a book about cerebral palsy and cancer and ALS and all the rest without it being funny," Marshall told ABC7 News Anchor Reggie Aqui. "And I certainly wouldn't want to have lived that life. Humor is a way of making it through."

This Pride Month we are showcasing new works by LGBTQ authors as part of 'Reggie's Exclusive V.I.P - only Pride-vate Book Club (where everyone is invited).'

Greg Marshall has always had a noticeable limp. His parents told him the problem with his leg was 'tight tendons.' It was actually cerebral palsy. He wouldn't know the real reason why he needed so many surgeries and physical therapy until he was almost 30.

"As first I was indignant, in kind of a teenage way, but very quickly I got to a point where I finally had a term for the magnitude of what I had been through."

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Dano Moreno is the first writer in our series highlighting LGBTQ authors for Pride. Learn about his debut children's book, "Hope For Ryan White."

Marshall's parents explained to him they didn't want a son who felt limited by his disability. They thought hiding his diagnosis would ultimately help. The strategy came with unintended consequences.

"I would try and hide and minimize my limp. I think because I had a secret I thought I didn't deserve the truth from other people."

Marshall had the unusual journey of coming out twice. First, as a gay man. And, years later, as a person living with cerebral palsy. In "Leg," Marshall discovers the power of disabling a secret.

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"It's about tracing disability and queerness as sources of intimacy in a family."

"Leg: The story of a limb and the boy who grew from it" comes out June 13.

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