Patricia Arquette was honored with the Vanguard Awards at last night’s 28th annual GLAAD Media Awards in Los Angeles. Recognized for making a significant difference in promoting equality and acceptance of LGBTQ people, the actress gave an emotional speech honoring late sister and LGBTQ champion Alexis Arquette.

Patricia Arquette
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“Visibility matters. And right now, trans visibility really matters,” Arquette said in her speech, which can be watched above. “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.”

She continued by adding that her sister “wanted to help move the world forward to a time in the future when every trans kid could live up to their full potential.” Adding, “She wanted to help the world to move forward to a time when trans people were not fetishized but to a better tomorrow when they would be seen as complete whole and equal human beings.”

In her speech, Patricia also called out Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the Department of Justice for not responding to a letter from Democratic members of Congress, which called on them to launch a federal hate crime investigation into the pattern of murders of transgender women.

“In Texas right now, lawmakers are trying to pass SB-6, just one of many bills around the country that would serve no purpose but to harm trans people, especially students,” she stated. “This year we have already seen eight trans women of color viciously murdered. Just two weeks ago, members of Congress asked Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the Department of Justice to launch a federal hate crimes investigation into the murders. The response from Sessions? Silence. We – LGBTQ people and allies – don’t do ‘silence.’”

Patricia Arquette Luke Perry GLAAD MEdia Awards
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“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 added.

During her profound and passionate speech, Arquette also thanked good friend Jeffrey Tambor for his work on Transparent, Sarah Kate Ellis and GLAAD for honoring her, and Luke Perry “ for being such a steadfast friend to my sister Alexis.”

The 2017 GLAAD Media Awards will air on Logo on Thursday April 6 at 10 PM ET/PT, after the world broadcast premiere of Strike A Pose.

Watch her entire speech above.