UPDATED with backstage comments: Patricia Arquette made an impassioned plea onstage at the Emmy Awards on Sunday for Hollywood and other industries to hire more transgender individuals. This came after she won the Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie category for Hulu’s The Act.
Arquette, who plays overprotective mom Dee Dee Blanchard in the limited series, noted that her career is thriving, but for many transgender individuals, that’s not the case.
“I’m grateful to be working. I’m grateful at 50 to be getting the best parts of my life,” she said to applause.
Arquette went on to tell the audience that she’s heartbroken after losing her sister, trans actress and musician Alexis Arquette, three years ago.
“In my heart, I’m so sad I lost my sister Alexis, and that trans people are still being persecuted,” Patricia said.
“I’m in mourning every day of my life, Alexis, I will be the rest of my life for you until we change the world so that trans people are not persecuted, and give them jobs,” she continued. “They’re human beings let’s give them jobs. Let’s get rid of this bias we have everywhere.”
Backstage, she was asked about her onstage comments.
“I’m having a wonderful time in my career — I never saw it coming,” she said (see her full comments below). “I’m 51 years old. I’m getting the greatest roles of my life, working with the greatest people. But also because I’m working so much, I haven’t completely processed Alexis’ death…
“I’m really starting to feel this heavy grief… I feel like I’m just starting to process this,” she added. T”o be there tonight, it would be inauthentic to not talk about my whole self and where I am.”
On trans disparity in society, she said that “We really need to change this, and I think we can change it rapidly if we care too and I care too.”
Alexis Arquette broke barriers as an openly trans performer and activist best known for roles that included memorable turns in Pulp Fiction and The Wedding Singer. She died of cardiac arrest at age 47 on September 11, 2016.