Alexis Arquette’s family release poignant statement: ‘She left before we were ready to let her go’

Her siblings say they learnt what 'real bravery' was witnessing her journey as a transgender woman

Maya Oppenheim@mayaoppenheim
Monday 12 September 2016 12:20
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Her siblings commended her strength of character and uncompromising commitment to refraining from acting roles which pigeonholed or reduced the transgender community
Her siblings commended her strength of character and uncompromising commitment to refraining from acting roles which pigeonholed or reduced the transgender community

The Arquette family have paid tribute to their daughter Alexis Arquette and commended her fight for the “understanding and acceptance” of the transgender community.

Alexis died early on Sunday morning in Los Angeles at the age of 47, surrounded by her family as they sung David Bowie’s ‘Starman’. A cause of death is not yet known.

The pioneering transgender actress came from a family of distinguished entertainers and was the sibling of David, Rosanna, Richmond and Patricia Arquette. She was best known for playing the role of trans sex worker Georgette in Last Exit To Brooklyn, the fourth man in Pulp Fiction and a Boy George impersonator in The Wedding Singer.

Alexis Arquette dies aged 47

“Alexis was a brilliant artist and painter, a singer, an entertainer and an actor,” her siblings said in a heartfelt statement. “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.”

“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.”

Her siblings commended her strength of character and uncompromising commitment to refraining from acting roles which pigeonholed or reduced the transgender community.

“Her career was cut short, not by her passing, but by her decision to live her truth and her life as a transgender woman,” they said. “Despite the fact that there are few parts for trans actors, she refused to play roles that were demeaning or stereotypical. She was a vanguard in the fight for understanding and acceptance for all trans people.”

“Alexis always had to do everything first. She left before we were ready to let her go.”

Born as Robert Arquette in Los Angeles in 1969, Alexis became a performer at a young age and appeared in a music video by The Tubes at the age of 12.

As a teenager, she began playing gender-ambiguous roles and later became the subject of a 2007 documentary, She's My Brother which documented her transition from male to female. In February, David Arquette told Khloé Kardashian that Alexis no longer identified as transgender and instead wanted to be referred to as “gender suspicious.”

Throughout her career, Alexis made a name for herself as a cabaret performer, sometimes acting under the name Eva Destruction.

The Arquette family have requested privacy and asked for donations be made to organisations which support the LGBTQ community in her honour.

Her sibling's statement in full:

“Our sister, Alexis Arquette, passed away this morning, September 11th, 2016.
“Alexis was a brilliant artist and painter, a singer, an entertainer and an actor. She starred in movies like ‘Last Exit to Brooklyn’, ‘Pulp Fiction’, ‘Jumpin’ at the Boneyard’, ‘Of Mice and Men’, ‘The Wedding Singer’, and ‘The Bride of Chucky’. 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. She was a vanguard in the fight for understanding and acceptance for all trans people.
“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.
“Alexis was born as Robert, our brother. We loved him the moment he arrived. But he came in as more than a sibling — he came as our great teacher. As Alexis transitioned into being a woman, she taught us tolerance and acceptance. As she moved through her process, she became our sister, teaching us what real love is.
“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.
“In the days leading to her death, she told us she was already visiting the other side, and 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.
“She passed away surrounded by love. We held her and sang her David Bowie’s ‘Starman’ as she punched through the veil to the other side. We washed her body in rose petals and surrounded her with flowers.
“Alexis always had to do everything first. She left before we were ready to let her go. We are all heartbroken that she is no longer with us, but we are grateful for the grace and kindness we were all shown during this difficult time. 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.
“The family asks that in lieu of flowers or gifts, donations please be sent to organizations that support the LGBTQ community in honour of Alexis Arquette.
“Please respect our privacy during this time of grieving.”

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