EXCLUSIVE: Patricia Arquette on Powerful Trans Rights Speech About Late Sister Alexis: 'I Feel Like Crying'
By Alex Ungerman
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Patricia Arquette is using her family tragedy to speak out on an important issue.
The 48-year-old actress opened up to ET's Denny Directo at Saturday's GLAAD Media Awards in Los Angeles, where she delivered an absolutely heartbreaking tribute to her late sister, Alexis Arquette -- who died last September due to complications related to HIV/AIDS -- while advocating for transgender rights at large.
"I was really hoping to keep it together, honestly," Arquette said about her moving words. "I just miss Alexis so much. I love Alexis so much. I feel really sad thinking about all the families who turn their back on their kids when they let them know they're trans because you are missing out on one of the greatest loves of your life, one of the greatest human beings in your life."
"I want those kids to know they are worthy and valuable and they're perfect and there is a community that loves and accepts them," the Oscar winner added. "And I do hope employers really start thinking, 'How many trans employers do I have? And why don't I have more trans workers? Why aren't I reaching out to that community?' because we've really diminished that society and have not given them opportunities in the past. It's now time for us to open our doors and make sure they have economic livelihoods."
While admitting she was "hanging by a thread," and "just feel[s] like crying" over the emotionally charged night, Arquette did share that she takes solace in the fact that her sister had the love and support of her family.
"I'm very grateful for that," she said. "Alexis had a lot of friends in the room tonight and that means so much to me. Alexis was beloved."
Still, the challenges and discrimination the LGBTQ community faces still needs to be acknowledged, Arquette implored.
"The world is a dangerous place for LGBTQ community, and you see that with somebody you love and you're worried about them," she noted. "People attack them and for no reason whatsoever. It's like they see them as the most vicious side of humanity."
Watch the video below for more on Arquette and Luke Perry's teary-eyed remembrances at the awards ceremony.
The GLAAD Media Awards will air exclusively on Logo on Thursday at 10/9c.