Patricia Arquette remembers late sister Alexis and demands trans acceptance at GLAAD Media Awards

April 2, 2017

Patricia Arquette at the 28th Annual GLAAD Media Awards in Los Angeles on April 1, 2017 (Photo by Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for GLAAD)Academy Award-winning actress and activist Patricia Arquette received GLAAD's Vanguard Award at the 28th Annual GLAAD Media Awards in Los Angeles on April 1. The award was presented by Jeffrey Tambor and Luke Perry, who spoke of his long friendship with Patricia's late sister Alexis. Troye Sivan was also honored at the event which will air exclusively on Logo on Thursday, April 6 at 10/9c. Mary J. Blige presented the Outstanding Film - Wide Release award to Moonlight; Paris Jackson and Tatiana Maslany presented the Outstanding Comedy Series award to Amazon's Transparent; and Josh Hutcherson presented the Outstranding Drama Series award to Freeform's Shadowhunters

In her acceptance speech, Patricia Arquette called out Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the Department of Justice for ignoring a letter from six Democratic members of Congress calling for a federal hate crime investigation into the pattern of murders of transgender women. “Can you hear us, Jeff Sessions?” she said, adding that, “You don’t need to have a trans family member, or a gay friend, or a questioning kid for this to affect you. It doesn’t matter what color or gender or faith you are. So many marginalized groups are under attack. When one of us is vulnerable, all of us are vulnerable.”

She also remembered her late sister Alexis Arquette:

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.

The Vanguard Award is presented to media professionals who have made a significant difference in promoting equality and acceptance of LGBTQ people. Previous Vanguard Award honorees include Kerry Washington, Elizabeth Taylor, Jennifer Lopez, Cher, Demi Lovato, Whoopi Goldberg, Antonio Banderas, Drew Barrymore, Janet Jackson, and Sharon Stone.

Patricia Arquette is an Academy-Award winning actor, activist, and longtime ally to the LGBTQ community. She has consistently used her platform to voice support of the LGBTQ community and issues such as marriage equality and transgender equality. An outspoken advocate for her late transgender sister, Arquette most recently spoke out against the Academy Awards’ glaring omission of Alexis Arquette from this year’s In Memoriam tribute.  In addition, she has appeared in LGBTQ-inclusive projects such as Flirting with Disaster, which received a GLAAD Media Award nomination for Outstanding Film – Wide Release in 1996.

Arquette is also a fervent advocate for numerous social and environmental justice issues. Arquette has spoken out against the Dakota Access Pipeline, standing in solidarity with the Indigenous groups leading the movement. She is an equal pay advocate for transgender women and has played a key role in passing several pieces of equal pay legislation as part of her role as a UN gender pay champion. Arquette also founded the charity GiveLove, which has now helped bring sustainable compost sanitation solutions to seven nations.

“Patricia Arquette embodies the critical voice needed during these times to resist against injustice and discrimination across a range of issues,” said GLAAD President & CEO Sarah Kate Ellis. “She is a beacon of light who has consistently used her platform to advance equality across marginalized groups and to drive culture-changing conversations that move acceptance forward.”

The 28th Annual GLAAD Media Awards are presented by Delta Air Lines, Hilton, Ketel One Vodka, Liberty Mutual Insurance, and Wells Fargo. The GLAAD Media Awards recognize and honor media for their fair, accurate, and inclusive representations of the LGBTQ community and the issues that affect their lives. The GLAAD Media Awards also fund GLAAD's work to amplify stories from the LGBTQ community and issues that build support for equality and acceptance.