Patricia Arquette’s voice shook with emotion during her acceptance speech for the Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie at the 2019 Emmys for her performance in The Act, but it wasn’t from nerves.
The actress used her time onstage to advocate for trans rights and mourn her sister Alexis Arquette, a performer, cartoonist, and trans activist, who died in 2016.
“In my heart, I’m so sad," she said. "I lost my sister Alexis, and 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 that trans people are not persecuted. And give them jobs! They are human beings, let’s give them jobs, let’s get rid of this bias that we have everywhere.”
Arquette joins several Emmy nominees and attendees who used their time in the spotlight to advocate for change. Laverne Cox — who stood in support during Arquette’s speech — brought an ACLU lawyer as her date to bring awareness to LGBTQ+ rights being under attack, while, RuPaul told everyone to register to vote.
This isn't the first time Arquette has used her platform to advocate for social justice. In 2015, Arquette made waves during Oscars acceptance speech. "It's our time to have wage equality once and for all and equal rights for women in the United States of America," she said, prompting Meryl Streep to lose her damn mind.
But then she continued: "And, it's time for all the women in America, and all the men that love women, and all the gay people, and all the people of color that we've all fought for, to fight for us now," she said. At the time, there was backlash against her comments, which appeared to imply that gay people and people of colour do not also working to gain equal pay. Still, her words on Emmys night were powerful, and it's refreshing to see someone consistently use their place in the public eye to advocate for those whose voices aren't being heard.
Arquette's comments hold particular significance on a night where Pose is nominated for seven Emmy Awards, including Best Drama, and Outstanding Performance By an Actor in a Leading Role, Drama. Trans stories matter, period.