Patricia Arquette tearfully paid tribute to her late transgender sister, Alexis, while being honored at the 28th annual GLAAD Media Awards in Beverly Hills, California, on Saturday.
Alexis, an avid transgender activist, died in September due to complications related to HIV/AIDS, but Patricia has continued supporting and advocating for the LGBTQ community and was named this year's Vanguard Award recipient for her efforts.
In an emotional speech at the Beverly Hilton hotel, the 48-year-old actress praised her sister's bravery and determination to "move the world forward."
"She wanted to help move the world forward to a time and future where every trans kid could live their full potential," said the star, after being presented the award by actors Luke Perry and Jeffrey Tambor. "When it wouldn't be uncommon to have, in your everyday life, a doctor, a cop, a real estate agent or public official, who was a transgender person. That they would get jobs, that they would get hired, they would get a shot. She wanted to help move the world forward to a time when they could be seen as complete, whole and equal human beings."
Arquette also noted that "right now trans visibility really matters," sharing how Alexis lost acting roles as a result of being a transgender woman.
"But she couldn't live a life that was a lie, so whatever mark I have made in this life in activism will always pale in the light of Alexis' bravery and in the light of the bravery of every trans kid growing up in America," she said.
The actress also thanked Perry for being "such a steadfast friend" to Alexis and always supporting "her journey to live her truth." Perry and Alexis had known each other for 30 years and the "Riverdale" star was also in tears during the powerful moment.
Calling for the nation to come together, Arquette urged the audience to call congress, march in protests, post on social media and donate to GLAAD.
"You don't need to have transgender family member or a gay friend for this to affect you," said the "CSI: Cyber" star. "It doesn't matter what color or gender or faith you are. There are so many marginalized groups right now under attack. When one of us is vulnerable, all of us are vulnerable."
"We are all human," Arquette concluded. "So, let's allow our humanity to lead us toward respect and tolerance."