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The latest news and announcements from Mayor London N. Breed

Board of Supervisors Approves LGBTQ Data Collection Legislation Introduced by Mayor London Breed and Supervisor Rafael Mandelman

Legislation repeals 12E of the Administrative Code and directs the Department of Human Resources to collect voluntary and confidential sexual orientation demographics from City employees and applicants

San Francisco, CA — The Board of Supervisors today unanimously passed legislation introduced by Mayor London N. Breed and Supervisor Rafael Mandelman to repeal 12E of the Administrative Code and allow the Department of Human Resources to collect voluntary and confidential sexual orientation demographics from City employees and applicants.

With certain narrow exceptions, Chapter 12E (City Employee’s Sexual Privacy Ordinance) of the Administrative Code prohibits the City from inquiring into “sexual orientation, practices, or habits” of City employees. In practice, this prohibited collection of sexual orientation and accurate gender identity information from City employees.

“Since day one, I have made it a point of my administration to elevate and support LGBTQ leadership and representation,” said Mayor Breed. “This section of the Administrative Code was necessary to protect LGBTQ employees from discrimination and harassment when initially designed, but it has now outlived its purpose. With the Board’s approval, we are advancing our workplace measures to ensure that San Francisco is an inclusive city for all LGBTQ workers.”

When enacted in 1985, Chapter 12E was necessary to protect LGBTQ City employees and applicants from potential discrimination at the height of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. At that time, the larger population often assumed that any member of the LGBTQ community might be living with HIV/AIDS and carried a tremendous stigma attached to it. This perception has shifted over time, given that discrimination and harassment based on HIV status, sexual orientation, and gender identity have since become prohibited under federal, state, and local law, as well as City policy.

This new policy builds off Mayor Breed’s Executive Directive to assure City services are LGBTQ affirming by requiring departments to provide gender-inclusive options and self-identifiers on all City forms and applications. The directive also expanded required trans inclusion training to all City employees working with the public. Mayor Breed has also prioritized appointing LGBTQ community leaders to City boards and commissions; since her inauguration in 2018, she has appointed or reappointed over 48 LGBTQ commissioners, making up 15% of all appointments.

“LGBTQ City employees drive our buses, fight our fires, and clean our streets,” said Supervisor Rafael Mandelman. “This legislation will help us to identify and address the needs of these employees and ensure that we are supporting and expanding San Francisco’s LGBTQ workforce.”

The City and County of San Francisco is the largest employer in San Francisco, with approximately 37,000 employees who reflect the vibrant and diverse populations of San Francisco and the Bay Area. While the City collects certain confidential demographic information from applicants for City employment, little is known about applicants or the City workforce in terms of LGBTQ identities. 

“This important policy change will give the City invaluable data on our LGBTQ+ workforce, and help identify potential barriers to City employment and advancement,” said Carol Isen, DHR Human Resources Director. “We look forward to implementing this change and expanding additional equity efforts that support pathways to City employment for the LGBTQ community.”

“Collecting information on sexual orientation and gender identity will help us assess and support the needs of our many LGBTQ+ City employees,” said Pau Crego, Acting Director of the Office of Transgender Initiatives. “From promoting LGBTQ+ participation in the U.S. Census to leading the way in collecting sexual orientation and gender identity data for City services, in San Francisco we understand how crucial it is for queer and trans communities to be counted.”

San Francisco is a leader in LGBTQ rights and has a rich history of LGBTQ and HIV advocacy, art and culture, and groundbreaking legislation and social programming.  LGBTQ communities worldwide look to San Francisco as a model to follow—a city that understands how crucial it is for our diverse communities to be seen, counted, respected, and celebrated.

The City remains committed to upholding protections for its LGBTQ applicants and employees and maintaining the privacy of all its applicants and employees by collecting data about sexual orientation and gender identity on a voluntary and confidential basis. More information on the legislation can be found here