Gender inclusion policy in the City and County of San Francisco

March 26, 2021

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The City and County of San Francisco (City) welcomes transgender, gender-nonconforming, gender-nonbinary, and gender-transitioning employees, applicants, and contractors. This policy promotes a safe, professional, inclusive, and productive workplace for everyone, regardless of gender identity or gender expression.

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All employees, applicants, and contractors must be treated with dignity and respect, regardless of gender, gender identity, and gender expression. City employees may not harass, discriminate, or retaliate against anyone based on their gender identity or transition status.

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Definitions and core concepts

These definitions help explain this policy and de-mystify gender differences. Individuals may or may not use these terms to describe themselves. These terms may change as our understanding evolves:


  • Cisgender: Describes someone whose gender identity matches what is typically associated with the sex assigned at birth.
  • Gender expression: The way people show their gender. Appearance, dress, hairstyle, voice, speech patterns, social interactions, names, gender pronouns (I, me, she, he, they, etc.), and mannerisms can all express gender. The gender a person expresses may not be male or female. It may be masculine, feminine, neither, or both.
  • Gender identity: A person’s sense of being male, female, or something other or in-between. This is regardless of the sex assigned at birth. Gender identity is not the same as gender expression or sexual orientation.
  • Gender-nonbinary: Describes someone whose gender identity is something other than male or female. Nonbinary people may identify as genderfluid, genderqueer, off the binary, agender (without gender), or something else.
  • Gender-nonconforming: Describes those whose gender traits and/or conduct do not fit into society’s traditional standards. These individuals may or may not be transgender.
  • Sexual orientation: An individual’s attraction to people. Straight, gay, and bisexual are some ways to describe sexual orientation. Sexual orientation is distinct from gender identity and expression. Transgender people can be gay, lesbian, bisexual, or straight.
  • Transgender: Broadly describes those whose gender identity or gender expression is different from the sex assigned at birth:
    • A transgender man is someone who identifies as a man, and whose sex assigned at birth was female.
    • A transgender woman is someone who identifies as a woman, and whose sex assigned at birth was male.
    • Those who identify as androgynous, genderqueer, nonbinary, or other identities may also consider themselves transgender.
    • Some people described by this definition do not consider themselves transgender, and may use other words. They may simply identify as a man or a woman.
  • Transitioning: The process of changing to the gender with which someone identifies, rather than the sex assigned at birth. Transitioning can be a complex process that takes a long time. It could also simply require one or two steps. Transitioning may include telling family, friends, co-workers, and others (coming out); changing names and/or gender on legal documents; and accessing medical treatment, such as hormones and surgery. However, an individual does not need to take any of these steps to transition. Not all transgender individuals follow the same transition process.
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Confidentiality and privacy

City employees, applicants, and contractors have the right to discuss their gender identity or gender expression openly, or keep that information private. The medical, personal, or intimate details about someone’s gender identity, transgender status, or transition are personal business. They decide when, with whom, and how much of their private information to share.

This information is confidential under state privacy laws. Individuals must consent before anyone besides themselves shares any of their personal, confidential information. Local law also prohibits the City from asking its employees about their sexual orientation, or anything else related to their sexuality.

Managers and supervisors must also be sensitive to transgender or gender-nonconforming employees’ special concerns, such as safety, privacy, transitioning, etc.

Spreading rumors or gossiping about anyone’s gender identity or gender expression is inappropriate and in violation of this policy. This type of behavior also violates the City’s Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Policy and the Respect Policy. Both of these policies are contained in the City Employee Handbook.

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Many employees continue to work while they transition. Some employees seek medical treatment as part of their gender transition, while others may not. Management and human resources staff must foster a respectful work environment for transitioning individuals. Human resources staff will use the City’s Gender Transition Guidelines, which demonstrate the way a transition should be handled in the workplace.

A transitioning employee’s colleagues and other City employees may only be given the employee’s new name and pronoun(s). All other personal information about the employee remains confidential and must not be discussed or released without the employee’s prior consent, as noted in the confidentiality section of this policy.

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Names and pronouns

Employees, applicants, and contractors must be addressed by the names and pronouns they choose. An employee may request a chosen name on the identification badge issued by the Department of Human Resources (DHR). Employees may also request that their email addresses reflect their chosen names.

Employees must use their legal names for certain purposes, such as payroll, retirement accounts, the human resources system (People & Pay), and some departmental badges.

Only a few employees who have signed a confidentiality pledge can see official employee records in People & Pay. In other words, although an individual’s legal name is in the system, it is confidential.

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Appearance and attire

Transgender and gender non-conforming employees have the right to dress in a way that corresponds with their gender identity and/or gender expression. Attire must align with departmental dress codes. Dress codes should not vary based on gender.

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Access to gender-specific facilities

Restrooms, locker rooms, and other facilities are open to City employees, applicants, and contractors, regardless of their gender identities. The City encourages departments to use all-gender restrooms, although transgender and gendernonconforming employees are not required to use these restrooms. City employees cannot harass or question individuals about their facility choices.

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Gender-Specific Workplace Assignments and Duties

Transgender and gender-nonconforming employees will be assigned in a manner consistent with their gender identity and/or gender expression for gender-specific job assignments (including sleeping arrangements).

Employees are entitled to use facilities and shared spaces that correspond to their gender identity and/or gender
expression. Managers and supervisors must make reasonable efforts to provide access to facilities in a way that allows employees to keep their transgender or gender-nonconforming status confidential.

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Reporting violations

Discrimination or harassment based on sex, gender, gender identity, or gender expression is a violation of this and other City policies, including the City’s EEO policy, and could result in discipline, up to and including termination.

The City encourages all employees to report harassing, retaliatory, or discriminatory behavior. It does not matter if the behavior is directed at themselves or co-workers. The EEO Policy has more information about reporting violations. City policy prohibits retaliation against anyone who reports or files a complaint, or helps in the investigation of a complaint.

If a supervisor receives a complaint, or if a supervisor becomes aware of potential discriminatory, harassing, or retaliatory behavior, the supervisor must immediately report it to the department’s EEO representative, human resources representative, or the City’s EEO unit at DHR. Any supervisor who fails to report such a complaint or behavior may be subject to discipline.

Employees or applicants who believe they have experienced discrimination, harassment, or retaliation in violation of this policy should report the incident and the individuals involved right away. Complaints must be filed within 180 calendar days (six months) of the date of the incident, or the date the individual should have first become aware of it.

For more information, to request training for your workgroup, or to file a complaint, contact any of the following, either verbally or in writing:

  • Any City supervisor or manager
  • The department’s EEO or human resources personnel
  • The City’s Department of Human Resources, EEO Division
    • Located at 1 South Van Ness Avenue, 4th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94103, by email at, or online at
  • The City’s EEO Helpline at (415) 557-4900 or (415) 557-4810 (TTY)
  • SFMTA employees may contact SFMTA’s EEO Officer Virginia Harmon at (415) 646-2875 or

The City’s EEO Policy applies to any complaint made about a violation of this policy.

Para mayor información sobre el hostigamiento en el trabajo: (415) 557-4900.

City and County of San Francisco Department of Human Resources
Carol Isen, Human Resources director
Connecting People with Purpose
One South Van Ness Avenue, 4th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94103-5413
(415) 557-4800

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