My transition – Lilly Duffield

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Reflecting on 2021s Transgender Day Of Visibility, our colleague Lilly shares her story, and the support provided through our healthcare plan. Capgemini UK are committed to supporting our trans colleagues and will continue to work with our healthcare provider in this respect

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

Medical appointments became the norm, 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.

As time passed, and following regular sessions with a counsellor, after a period of four years or so I 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!

Even armed with the necessary referrals, however, surgery seemed so far off, 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 I 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. 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.

I think it was mid-2019 when I suggested to OUTfront to see if we could get the surgery on the health policy.  With the support of the network co-chairs, I 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.

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!

Returning from successful surgery,  I reflected on how far I’d come and the fact that 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!

You cannot beat fries and a Mcflurry…. and the feeling of being who I was meant to be.

Thank you, Capgemini

 

Author


Lilly Duffield

Senior IT Consultant

 

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