You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Patricia Arquette Honors Her Late Sister Alexis at GLAAD Media Awards

As the entertainment industry continues to champion for inclusiveness, the current political climate is not a matter of life imitating art.

The 28th annual GLAAD Media Awards celebrated fair and inclusive representations of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) community on Saturday at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, California, amid a hotbed of political and cultural tension playing out off-screen in real life.

But advocates in the entertainment industry agree that though we’ve come so far, setbacks such as North Carolina’s controversial “bathroom bill” and the Trump administration agenda, are signals to push even further.

“I think we’re looking at a lot of political assaults right now on the LGBTQ community,” shared Patricia Arquette, who was honored with the Vanguard Award and has been an outspoken advocate for LGBTQ and women’s equality. “They also removed LGTBQ questions from the census and part of that reason is because they don’t want to see how big the LGBTQ community was, and they don’t want them to mobilize. Donald Trump started his presidency and campaign saying he was going to be a friend of the LGBTQ community and that is not happening. We have laws that are discriminatory that are on the books popping up everywhere.”

During her acceptance speech, the Oscar winner paid tribute to her late sister, trans actress Alexis Arquette, who died last year.

“Trans visibility really matters; it is not easy to be a trans person in the United States of America now,” Arquette said to resounding applause. “My sister Alexis challenged the industry — she had a successful career and knew she was risking losing work and her livelihood to live her truth… to lose parts, to live as a transwoman; she risked everything. She risked it all because she knew she couldn’t live a life that was a lie.”

Continuing, “So whatever mark I make in activism will always pale in the light of Alexis’ bravery and the light of every trans kid growing up in America. She wanted to help move the world forward to a time in the future where every trans kid could live up to their full potential. When it wouldn’t be uncommon to have in their everyday life a doctor, a nurse or a cop or a real estate agent or a public official who is a transgender person. That they would get jobs, they would get hired, and they would get a shot. She wanted to help move the world forward to a time when trans people were not fetishized, but to a better tomorrow when they could be seen as complete whole people — as human beings.”

“But that is not what is happening,” she added. “In Texas right now, lawmakers are trying to pass SB6 (a bathroom privacy bill); it’s just one of many bills around the country that would serve no purpose but to harm people, especially students. This year we have already seen eight trans women of color viciously murdered. 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 was silence. Well, we, the members of the LGBTQ community don’t do silence.”

Arquette thanked Emmy winner Jeffrey Tambor for his portrayal of a trans person in Amazon’s “Transparent,” showing that “trans people are multifaceted and that they have feelings, pain and humor, just like every other human being,” she said.

Speaking to Variety, Tambor said progressive values are abound in Hollywood, but Washington seems to be frozen in time. “I see it on network TV, in our business and in our world,” Tambor said. “The noise and hatred seems to have died down, except in North Carolina, but I think the young people are now having their voice — the X, the Y the Z’ers, and they’re not tolerating that B.S. anymore. The part that bothers me is the age of the people and the false morality of it, and the fact that people quote the church. I think God would approve of the GLAAD Awards.”

Similarly, Garcelle Beauvais, who stars in the forthcoming “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” thinks sweeping change is a matter of cleaning house. “I would say impeach is the only way to go,” she said of her message to President Trump.

“Is there more to go? Absolutely. I remember when Ellen [DeGeneres] came out and that was considered a bad thing, and she lost her show,” she added. “We’ve come a long way and we have movies that celebrate that — we have ‘Moonlight’ and we have TV shows like ‘Transparent’ and ‘Modern Family’ — it’s fantastic.”

More storytelling of LGTBQ-identifying individuals could be what helps facilitate change, said “Supergirl” actresses Chyler Leigh and Floriana Lima, who play girlfriends on the CW series.

“The story we are telling is authentic and inspiring because people can invest in it,” Leigh explained. “It’s an excellent time for this and hopefully there will be more opportunities — that’s the goal.”

Lima also cited Ellen DeGeneres coming out in 1997 during her former ABC sitcom as groundbreaking. “When Ellen had her show — that scene when she leaned in and said she’s gay — that was a mic drop,” she said.

“That thought has never left me — that image, that moment, it is iconic,” Leigh added.

More Scene

  • First Look at SAG Awards' Cuban

    First Look at SAG Awards' Cuban-Inspired After-Party (EXCLUSIVE)

    Celebrities at this year’s SAG Awards won’t have to go far for some tropical fun. Sunday’s annual post-show gala, hosted by People magazine for the 23rd year, is set to feature a Cuban-themed party space adjacent to the Shrine Auditorium. “We’re kind of going back to more of a thematic element. I have some close [...]

  • DF-10956_R – Gwilym Lee (Brian May) and

    'Bohemian Rhapsody' Producer Confirms Bryan Singer's Reason for Leaving, Says 'No One' Was Attached to Play Mercury

    “Bohemian Rhapsody” producer Graham King provided insight into some of the events surrounding the Golden Globe-winning film Saturday at the Producers Guild Awards Nominees Breakfast, including director Bryan Singer’s departure from the film partway through production. “It’s an unfortunate situation, with like 16, 17 days to go and Bryan Singer just had some issues, his [...]

  • Mj Rodriguez, Nico Santos to Announce

    Mj Rodriguez, Nico Santos to Announce GLAAD Media Award Nominations

    Mj Rodriguez and Nico Santos are set to announce the nominees for the 30th annual GLAAD Media Awards. The “Pose” star and “Crazy Rich Asians” funny man will make the announcement during a live-stream hosted by AT&T and from the AT&T Hello Lounge at the Sundance Film Festival on Friday, Jan. 25. “The images and stories recognized [...]

  • Emile Hirsch, Matt SmileyEmile Hirsch hosts

    Emile Hirsch Hosts Smiley Face Art Opening at Mondrian Hotel

    Despite the rain on Wednesday night in West Hollywood, there were plenty of smiles inside the Mondrian hotel thanks to artist Matt Smiley‘s Refresh exhibition. Not only is Smiley his real last name, but several of his paintings and other pieces in the exhibit feature smiley faces. “I’ve seen more smiley symbolism lately, and I’ve [...]

  • Randall Park, left, and Constance Wu

    Constance Wu Wants Her 'Fresh Off the Boat' Co-Star Randall Park to Host the Oscars

    While the Academy may have decided to go hostless for this year’s Oscars, that doesn’t mean the rest of Hollywood has stopped thinking about who would be a good choice for the emceeing gig. Former host Whoopi Goldberg recently suggested Ken Jeong. Jeong said, when he was a guest on “The View,” Goldberg told him [...]

  • 'Schitt's Creek' Stars Reveal Dream Guest

    'Schitt's Creek' Cast Reveals Dream Guest Stars: Oprah, Beyonce and ...

    “Schitt’s Creek” has big dreams. Dan Levy, who stars as David on the series, says his wish list of guest stars includes Oprah, Beyonce, Mariah Carey and Gwyneth Paltrow. “All for different reasons, none of whom we’ll get,” he cracked at the Critics’ Choice Awards. For those who haven’t caught on to the “Schitt’s Creek” [...]

  • Barbra Streisand and Gisele Bundchen

    Barbra Streisand and Gisele Bündchen to Be Honored at UCLA Science Gala

    Science can be very glamorous. It certainly will be during Oscar week on Feb. 21 when the UCLA Institute of the Environment & Sustainability (IoES) honors Barbra Streisand and Gisele Bündchen for environmental activism at its annual Hollywood for Science Gala. “When I moved to LA, the air was unbreathable. Rivers were catching fire in [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content