Patricia Arquette paid tribute to her late sister Alexis and voiced her support for the transgender community while accepting the Vanguard award at the GLAAD Media Awards in Los Angeles on Saturday night.
“Visibility matters. And right now, trans visibility really matters,” Patricia said in her speech. “It is not an easy life to be trans in America today. Alexis challenged the movie industry at its core. She had a very successful career as an actor. Alexis knew she was risking losing work by living her truth. That she would lose parts by living as a trans woman. She risked it all because she couldn’t live a lie. Whatever mark I have made in this life in activism will always pale in the light of Alexis’s bravery. She did not knock on the door of progress. She kicked the door open.”
Alexis died from a heart attack at the age of 47 in September. After the Academy Awards left out Alexis in the In Memoriam segment, Patricia called out the academy for not honoring her sister. Alexis appeared in films such as “Pulp Fiction,” “The Bride of Chucky” and “The Wedding Singer.” She had a combined total of more than 70 credits on screen and on stage.
“She wanted to help move the world forward to a time when they [transgender community] could be seen as complete, whole and equal human beings,” Patricia continued.
Patricia also noted the lack of a response from Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the Department of Justice when called upon by members of the Democratic party to launch a federal hate crime investigation into the murders of transgender women.
“The response from Sessions? Silence. We – LGBTQ people and allies – don’t do silence. We are raising our voices, all of our voices together. Can you hear us, Jeff Sessions? You don’t need to have a trans family member, or a gay friend, or a questioning kid for this to affect you,” Arquette concluded.
The GLAAD Media Awards air on Thursday, April 6 at 10 p.m. on Logo. Watch Patricia’s acceptance speech below.