Alexis Arquette Dies, Leaving A Legacy of Transgender Activism

by Patty Affriol

The amazing entertainer, painter, and trans activist, Alexis Arquette, died Sunday morning at the young age of 47. She passed with her close relatives by her side while listening to David Bowie. Some of the highlights of her career included roles in Last Exit to Brooklyn, Pulp Fiction, The Wedding Singer, The Bride of Chucky, and an appearance on the reality show The Surreal Life that helped increase the understanding and visibility of the transgender community. Alexis’s brother, Richmond, released a statement on Facebook that celebrated Alexis’s career of acting and activism (written by her sister Patricia). They honored their sibling for bravely carving a space for transgender people.

The heart-wrenching statement reads: “We are comforted by the fact that Alexis came into our family and was our brother and then our sister, and that she gave us so much love. We will love you always, Alexis. We know we were the lucky ones.”

Bride ChuckyAlexis Arquette in The Bride of Chucky

Alexis’ career suffered because she refused to take stereotypical, transgender roles: “Her career was cut short, not by her passing, but by her decision to live her truth and her life as a transgender woman. Despite the fact that there are few parts for trans actors, she refused to play roles that were demeaning or stereotypical.”

5 copyAlexis Arquette in The Wedding Singer

Her siblings applauded her courage for being at the forefront of transgender activism. “She fiercely lived her reality in a world where it is dangerous to be a trans person – a world largely unready to accept differences among human beings, and where there is still the ugliness of violence and hostility towards people that we may not understand.”

We learned what real bravery is through watching her journey of living as a trans woman. We came to discover the one truth — that love is everything.

alexis 3Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

In her last days, Alexis expressed “that where she was going, there was only one gender. That on the other side, we are free from all of the things that separate us in this life, and that we are all one.”

Top photo from The Wedding Singer

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