Trans employee supported by Capgemini healthcare plan

Trans employee supported by Capgemini healthcare plan

 April 20, 2021

Capgemini UK is committed to supporting its trans colleagues and will continue to work with its healthcare provider in this respect.

Lilly Duffield, Senior IT Consultant at Capgemini, shares her story, and the support provided through the company's healthcare plan.

Taking the necessary steps to become her

When Lilly transitioned around five years ago, like many trans people, she took the necessary steps to ensure it was absolutely what she wanted to do, before she started the necessary medical steps to become her. She knew the journey ahead was tough, and she was aware of the risks and the transphobic comments she might receive while and after transitioning, but she knew that this was what she wanted – "an urge I couldn’t now stop," she adds.

Facing challenges with medical appointments

Medical appointments became the norm for Lilly, and the same question was asked each time: ‘Did I want pelvic reconstructive surgery?’

"A lot of trans people don’t necessarily have it done, and at first, I admit I wasn’t sure – given that the waiting list for one of the top surgeons in the UK – my preferred surgeon – was approximately 2 years, I had plenty of time to reflect and make an informed decision," she explains. 

As time passed, and following regular sessions with a counsellor, after a period of four years or so Lilly made the decision to proceed with the surgery.  Without the relevant referrals, NHS surgery wouldn’t be an option. Multiple appointments with the Gender Clinic were made and attended or cancelled/ rescheduled with sometimes a delay of months for the rescheduled appointment. 

"It was frustrating for me so much so that I repeatedly complained, and eventually the time between referral appointments was brought forward to 3 weeks instead of the original 9 months quoted!" she says. 

Struggling with the reality of a life on hold 

Even armed with the necessary referrals, however, surgery seemed so far off for Lilly, with an NHS wait list of 12-24 months. Privately, however, was a much shorter wait – just 3 months. Time passed by, and in 2019 she was still no further on with clear dates for NHS surgery.

"Personally, I was struggling – my life was on hold, and most of the time my mood wasn’t fantastic," she shares. "I couldn’t focus on anything at work, and had little or no motivation. I looked at whether the surgery I wanted was covered on the Capgemini health policy, and in seeing it wasn’t, my mood worsened."

Changing Capgemini's health policy

It was around mid-2019 when Lilly suggested to OUTfront, Capgemini UK's LGBT+ Employee Network, to see if Capgemini could get the surgery on the health policy. With the support of the network co-chairs, Lilly wrote a business case outlining both sides of the arguments for and against the inclusion of the surgery on the health policy.

"To be told that it  had been approved and was due to take effect in April 2020 was just incredible. I just couldn’t believe it – my wait was finally over, and I could move on with my life at last. There was light at the end of what had felt like a very, very long tunnel," she says.

"What I’d not planned for was COVID, and the impact on surgeries. It was disheartening, but eventually I was given a date. I am not an easy patient to look after, and didn’t relish the sleeping in a certain way, not drinking/eating for 3 days (mainly cause I didn’t want the liquid diet…and no not that type of liquid diet!)….but it kept the staff on their toes, if nothing else!" 

Finally being who she was meant to be 

Returning from successful surgery, Lilly reflected on how far she had come. "Without Capgemini and the support I had in changing our health care plan, none of this would have been possible, and almost certainly I would still be waiting today for surgery on the NHS. It was an amazing feeling…almost as good as the McD fries and McFlurry on the way home in the car, god they were good after a week of liquid hospital food!" she adds.

"You cannot beat fries and a Mcflurry…. and the feeling of being who I was meant to be. Thank you, Capgemini."

Work for an inclusive company 

Capgemini aims to be recognised by its current and future workforce, its clients and in the market as a truly inclusive organisation where everyone feels valued, included and empowered. Which is why the company wants to attract the very best people from a diverse range of characteristics and backgrounds. 

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