Patricia Arquette took home the Emmy for outstanding supporting actress in a limited series or movie for The Act and used her time onstage to advocate for trans rights.
“I’m grateful at 50 to be getting the best parts of my life,” Arquette said. “And that’s great, but in my heart, I’m so sad. I lost my sister Alexis.”
Arquette’s sister and trans actress Alexis Arquette passed away in 2016 from HIV complications.
“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,” Arquette said during her speech. “And give them jobs—they’re human beings.”
More than one in four transgender people have lost a job due to bias and more than 75% have claimed some form of workplace discrimination, according to the National Center for Transgender Equality. Actress and trans activist Laverne Cox also made a statement for trans workplace rights on the Emmy’s red carpet, bringing to light Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits companies from discriminating against employers on the basis of sex, race, color, nation origin, and religion. The case goes before the Supreme Court October 8 to determine if those rights extend to sexual orientation and gender identity.
“Let’s give them jobs,” Arquette said. “Let’s get rid of this bias that we have everywhere.”