The 50-year-old Riverdale actor introduced the late star's sister, Patricia Arquette, onstage at the 28th Annual GLAAD Awards on Saturday night, alongside Transparent actor Jeffrey Tambor. Perry said he had been friends with Alexis for over 30 years, and shed tears during the heartfelt moment.
Perry was visibly emotional as a touching video of Patricia's advocacy on behalf of her sister played for the audience.
Alexis, an avid transgender activist, died in September due to complications related to HIV/AIDS. She was 47 years old.
ET's Denny Directo caught up with Perry as well as Patricia backstage, who both talked about the significance of Perry's decades-long friendship with Alexis.
"He and Lex were friends since they were kids and I remember many years ago, the height of the 90210 craze, they all said, 'Alexis Arquette is dating Luke. Luke is secretly gay,'" Patricia told ET. "And Luke said, 'I'm not going to say that's not true, even though Alexis and I are just best friends because that would be to say there's nothing wrong with it, and there's nothing wrong with it.'"
"Look when you love somebody, you love them. Bottom line," Perry explained. "And I loved Lex and Lex loved me, and I don't need to explain that to anybody. That's how love works, and that's what's so special about the message Patricia spreads."
Perry praised Alexis' advocacy for transgender men and women getting a fair shot when applying for jobs.
"When you can get that love out there and bring that love into your work place, and you can hire them and look past all that stuff and get to the person that's inside, that's what Alexis was about," he said. "That opened that whole entire part of my life up -- to be able to see the world like that. So, I owe a huge debt of gratitude and an awful lot of love."
Patricia was named this year's Vanguard Award recipient at the GLAAD Awards for continuing to support and advocate for the LGBTQ community. The 48-year-old actress also shed tears onstage, as she praised Alexis' bravery and determination to "move the world forward." She also thanked Perry for being "such a steadfast friend" to Alexis, and always supporting “her journey to live her truth."
"She wanted to help move the world forward to a time and future where every trans kid could live their full potential,"Patricia said. "When it wouldn't be uncommon to have, in your everyday life, a doctor, a cop, a real estate agent or public official, who was a transgender person. That they would get jobs, that they would get hired, they would get a shot. She wanted to help move the world forward to a time when they could be seen as complete, whole and equal human beings."
"You don't need to have transgender family member or a gay friend for this to affect you," she added. “It doesn’t matter what color or gender or faith you are. There are so many marginalized groups right now under attack. When one of us is vulnerable, all of us are vulnerable." The 28th Annual GLAAD Media Awards will air exclusively on Logo on Thursday, April 6 at 10 p.m. ET/PT, 9 p.m. CT.