Patricia Arquette took home an Emmy Sunday night for Best Supporting Actress in a Limited Series, one of two Emmys for which she was nominated. Arquette’s win was for her role as Dee Dee Blanchard in Hulu’s The Act, based on the true story of a mother with Munchausen syndrome by proxy who poisoned her own daughter, Gypsy (Joey King), and was eventually killed by her daughter’s boyfriend.
After walking to the stage to the tune of Florence + The Machine’s “Mother” — a moment most pleasing to me in both of their careers — Arquette shared how grateful she was to still be working in Hollywood as a woman of a certain age.
But despite her joy at winning, Arquette added, In my heart, I’m so sad. I lost my sister, Alexis,” she said, referring to Alexis Arquette, who died in 2016. “Trans people are still being persecuted and I’m in mourning every day of my life, Alexis, and I will be the rest of my life for you until we change the world so trans people are not persecuted.”
But Arquette didn’t stop there, imploring an audience of the most powerful people in Hollywood and millions of people watching at home to give trans people jobs. “They’re human beings, give them jobs,” she said. “Let’s get rid of this bias that we have everywhere.”
“Trans people are still being persecuted and I’m in mourning every day of my life, Alexis, and I will be the rest of my life for you until we change the world so trans people are not persecuted.” @PattyArquette pic.twitter.com/0uY6MgBvbx
— Rose Dommu (@rosedommu) September 23, 2019
In the press room after her win, Arquette told reporters that while she's enjoying her career resurgence, she has "not completely processed my sister Alexis’ death. "For days, I’ve been talking to my family about...feeling this heavy grief. [It would be] Inauthentic to not talk about my whole self and where I am. I really miss my sister." She went on to note that trans women in American make under $10,000 a year, the lowest of all women, and that “trans people in America have life expectancy of 35 years.”
“That’s not acceptable,” Arquette said. “We need to really change this and I think we can change this rapidly if we care to. I care to."
Arquette wasn’t the only woman being vocal about trans equality at the Emmys. Laverne Cox used her choice of date and look to remind viewers about the significance of October 8, when the Supreme Court will consider federal employment protection for LGBTQ+ employees.
*This story has been updated.