Press Release

Mayor London Breed and Supervisor Rafael Mandelman introduce legislation to expand LGBTQ data collection for City employees and applicants

New legislation introduced today to the Board of Supervisors repeals 12E of the Administrative Code and directs the Department of Human Resources to collect voluntary and anonymous sexual orientation demographics from City employees and applicants.

San Francisco, CA —(Tuesday, June 22, 2021) Today Mayor London Breed and Supervisor Rafael Mandelman introduced new legislation to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors that repeals 12E of the Administrative Code to allow the Department of Human Resources to collect voluntary and anonymous sexual orientation demographics from City employees and applicants. 

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 anonymous demographic information from applicants for City employment, little is known about applicants or the City workforce in terms of LGBTQ+ identities.

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 all over the world 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.

“As we celebrate Pride month in San Francisco, it’s important that we step back and ensure that we’re doing everything we can to live up to our values, and that includes hiring and retaining a diverse workforce that reflects our community,” said Mayor Breed. “This section of our Administrative Code was originally designed in a different era to protect LGBTQ employees from discrimination and harassment, but it has now outlived its purpose. With this change, we’ll be able to look at the data and make any changes needed in our hiring practices. I want to thank Supervisor Mandelman for partnering with us on this important legislation.”

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. Also, Mayor Breed has 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 work hard every day to support the people of San Francisco,” said Supervisor Rafael Mandelman. “This legislation will allow the Department of Human Resources to better track our citywide diversity, equity and inclusion goals and identify strategies to recruit LGBTQ employees into public service. I am grateful for Mayor London Breed’s leadership and partnership on this new legislation that will help San Francisco more effectively identify, measure, and address the needs of our City’s LGBTQ employees and applicants.” 

“This important policy change will provide the City with invaluable voluntary information about our LGBTQ+ workforce that will help us identify any potential barriers to City employment and promotions,” said Carol Isen, Human Resources Director. “We are building upon our efforts to support more pathways into City employment and creating a more diverse workforce. We look forward to implementing this change and expanding upon our efforts to create a workplace that is equitable, inclusive and welcoming to all.”

“This legislation is critical to support San Francisco’s efforts to advance LGBTQ+ rights and inclusion in the workplace,” said Clair Farley, Executive Director of the Office of Transgender Initiatives. “Our team is proud to have worked with the City to expand critical data collection to include our LGBTQ community and employees while assuring we have inclusive policies and training programs to assure a safe and affirming workplace – despite the challenges of the pandemic we were able to train over 2,000 City employees through our LGBTQ Inclusion Trainings.”

Additional Background on Chapter 12E 

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.

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.

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