Patricia Arquette gave an impassioned plea for transgender rights while accepting an Emmy on Sunday night. The actress won for her supporting role as Dee Dee Blanchard in Hulu’s true-crime limited series “The Act.”
“I just have to say I’m grateful to be working, I’m grateful at 50 to be getting the best parts of my life,” Arquette began her acceptance speech. “But in my heart I’m so sad. I lost my sister Alexis.”
Arquette’s sister, transgender actress Alexis Arquette, died in 2016 at age 47. “Trans people are still being persecuted,” she continued. “I’m in mourning every day of my life, Alexis, and I will be for the rest of my life for you, until we change the world so trans people are not persecuted — and give them jobs. They’re human beings, let’s get rid of this bias we have everywhere.”
“Pose” actress Dominique Jackson was among those who gave Arquette a standing ovation for her remarks.
Backstage, Arquette continued to advocate for trans people by sharing some sobering statistics.
“Trans women of America make less than $10,000 a year — deep poverty,” she said. “Trans women of America have a life expectancy of 35 years. That is not acceptable. Jokes are common, [and] you don’t see them getting employed everywhere. I think we can change this if we care to — and I care to. And I want to make the world a better place for all the kids of today.”
In her speech, Arquette also praised the cast of “The Act” and her fellow actresses nominated for supporting actress in a limited series or TV movie.
“My Joey is there — my beauty — my Joey King,” Arquette said of the actress who plays her ailing daughter, Gypsy Rose Blanchard. “I can’t believe this is happening, to be honored with these fellow nominees, who are all so talented and gave a master class in acting. I’m terribly grateful.”
The Oscar winner now has two Emmys under her belt (as she previously won for her lead drama role on NBC’s “Medium” in 2005). A double nominee this year, she was also nominated in the lead limited series/TV movie actress category for her take on the real-life Joyce “Tilly” Mitchell in Showtime’s “Escape at Dannemora.” In that category, she lost to Michelle Williams (“Fosse/Verdon”).
Here, Arquette was up against Patricia Clarkson (“Sharp Objects”), Margaret Qualley (“Fosse/Verdon”), Emily Watson (“Chernobyl”) and both Marsha Stephanie Blake and Vera Farmiga in “When They See Us.”