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SF supes panel again advances SOGI legislation after 'substantive changes'

Assistant Editor

San Francisco Board of Supervisors rules committee members, clockwise from left, Rafael Mandelman, Aaron Peskin, and Connie Chan advanced a change to the administrative code to allow the city and county to collect sexual orientation and gender identity data on city employees and those who apply for jobs. Photo: Screengrab
San Francisco Board of Supervisors rules committee members, clockwise from left, Rafael Mandelman, Aaron Peskin, and Connie Chan advanced a change to the administrative code to allow the city and county to collect sexual orientation and gender identity data on city employees and those who apply for jobs. Photo: Screengrab  

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors' rules committee once again advanced an update to the city's administrative code that would allow the collection of the sexual orientation and gender identity data of city workers and prospective employees.

As the Bay Area Reporter previously reported, the same panel had moved the legislation forward last month. But gay District 8 Supervisor Rafael Mandelman made what straight ally District 3 Supervisor Aaron Peskin called "substantive changes," and so the new version had to be approved by the rules committee to be heard by the full board.

City leaders want to be able to ask employees and those who apply for jobs with the city and county in a voluntary way if they identify as part of the LGBTQ community. In order to do so, however, a restriction in the city's municipal code that forbids it from inquiring into the "sexual orientation, practices, or habits" of city employees must be removed.

This restriction is known as Chapter 12E, the City Employee's Sexual Privacy Ordinance of the Administrative Code, which was enacted in 1985 during the height of the AIDS epidemic as a way to protect LGBTQ applicants and city employees from being discriminated against.

With those fears no longer a concern, and SOGI data routinely asked of people seeking various city services and in public health settings, Mayor London Breed and Mandelman introduced legislation during Pride Month that would repeal that section of the Administrative Code. Once passed, it will be up to the city's Department of Human Resources to implement it.

The original legislation to repeal Chapter 12E allowed the collection of SOGI data anonymously; in its new form, the data won't be collected anonymously, It will be collected confidentially in a way that protects the privacy of respondents, as the B.A.R. previously reported.

Mandelman said that this change was to align the SOGI data collection with other data collection (such as on a person's race and ethnicity) that the city already does.

Two people called in during public comment. The first did not say anything when called upon. The second said he meant to speak on another item.

Without objection, rules committee members Mandelman, Peskin, and District 1 Supervisor Connie Chan voted to forward the legislation to the full board of supervisors, where it'll be heard October 19.

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