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Review ordered after lawyer calls for gender-neutral signs at court
Published Tuesday, April 23, 2019 6:01PM PDT Last Updated Tuesday, April 23, 2019 7:30PM PDT
B.C.'s attorney general says a sign at the Vernon Law Courts, which read "Male Barristers" for a lounge meant for all lawyers has been replaced after a Vancouver lawyer called for a gender-neutral sign.
Attorney General David Eby said he has not visited the courthouse and was shocked to hear the story.
"I can't explain how it went on for so long," Eby said as he thanked lawyer Kyla Lee for raising the issue.
Lee, who works for Acumen Law, recounted her experience on Twitter.
She said a room upstairs featured "nice couches" along with access to phones and a printer as well as information relevant to lawyers, including a job board.
The sign on the door said "Male Barristers, and Lee said when she saw it, she wasn't sure if she should or could go in.
"I felt very confused, I felt angry, I felt a little bit sad and I felt very uncomfortable," Lee told CTV Vancouver.
The room is intended for lawyers of all genders.
Eby says the sign has been changed so it is clear that all lawyers are welcome in the main barrister's lounge. He said he regretted this happened in a courthouse under the government's watch.
"Law is an area that has taken a lot more time to change in terms of getting with the times," Eby said.
There was also a room in the basement that had a sign "Lady Barristers' covered by with letter-sized paper. It was distinctly smaller and featured a folding table and two chairs.
While the rooms were likely established decades, Lee and others worried the signage deemed women as "less than."
Lee, reacting to the news Tuesday, said she was pleased with the announcement.
"This is an important issue that can have huge implications for people, and it is nice to see quick action on it."
Eby says he ordered staff to review the issue at all provincial courthouses.