Lloyds Banking Group is to offer gender reassignment surgery as a standard part of its private healthcare provision.
The firm, which is partly owned by the British tax payer, will become the first UK bank to offer the surgery after calculating that 830 of its staff do not conform to “gender binaries”.
The banking group, which includes Lloyds Bank, Halifax, Bank of Scotland and Scottish Widows, will offer the service through private healthcare provider Bupa, allowing staff to have the procedure far quicker than on Britain’s socialised National Health Service (NHS).
The bank said in a statement: “The health and wellbeing of all our colleagues is of utmost importance to the group and we are committed to providing them with increasing and inclusive support.”
The firm has been partially owned by the tax payer since the government bailed it out during the 2008 banking crisis. It was ordered to sell off a large portion of its business in return for the bailout, with the newly separated part becoming TSB Bank.
Karin Cook, the bank’s director of operations, told Pink News the company wanted to be “inclusive to all colleagues”.
“We felt that our current healthcare provision was excluding certain conditions which were very important to people particularly in the support for some of the mental health issues that colleagues suffer.
“So it was essential that we were able to extend that to cover to people with gender dysphoria.”
The only other large employer to offer gender reassignment surgery as part of its healthcare plan is Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
Kimberley Bird, a senior executive at Lloyds who has undergone reassignment surgery, said: “I think as an organisation we have shown our visible commitment to the trans community. Having seen and worked in the trans community for some time now I know that the offering that we’re making is groundbreaking and that, as an organisation, and as an individual, I absolutely welcome this.
“I do think other organisations will follow quite quickly and it will just change lives.”