Accepting the Emmy Award for her role in Hulu’s The Act, Patricia Arquette tearfully pleaded for an end to the persecution of transgender people.
Arquette has delivered powerful Emmy Award and Academy Award speeches before, but this one was deeply personal. She began her speech by saying she’s grateful to be a working actress and to be landing the best roles of her life at 50. But then she choked up and added that she was saddened by the horrific treatment of trans people.
“In my heart, I’m so sad. I lost my sister Alexis,” she said of her trans sister Alexis Arquette, who died in 2016.
“Trans people are still being persecuted. And I’m in mourning every day of my life, Alexis, for you, until we change the world so that trans people are not persecuted,” Arquette said.
Besides the Trump administration’s continual assault on the rights and safety of trans people, trans women are being murdered at an alarming rate.
But Arquette didn’t stop there.
“And give them jobs. They’re human beings,” she said of the difficulties trans people face in the workforce, an issue that has been a particular problem in Hollywood.
During Arquette’s speech, the camera panned the audience to reveal actress Laverne Cox and American Civil Liberties Union attorney Chase Strangio giving her a standing ovation.
Strangio and Cox walked the red carpet earlier in the evening, bringing awareness to arguments the U.S. Supreme Court will hear October 8 on whether Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, applies to discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
Cox was nominated this year for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series for Orange Is the New Black.