5 Ways to Remember & Honor Alexis Arquette as a Trans Advocate & Artist

Actress and trans advocate Alexis Arquette died over the weekend, and as with any celeb death, it's heartbreaking and strangely hard to come to terms with. She was 47, and though there's no how or why yet, Alexis's  family released a statement on Facebook assuring us she passed surrounded by love, flowers, and a soundtrack of "Starman" by David Bowie. The family asked for privacy during this time, but that doesn't mean we can't honor Alexis or her legacy on our own terms. 


Here's the full statement from the Arquettes:

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It's a beautiful tribute for a beautiful person. Since we can't really mourn with the family, here are five other ways to honor Alexis's memory:

  1. Donate to organizations that support the LGBT community. The Arquette family specifically asked for donations in lieu of flowers or gifts, so this is an easy, actionable way to honor Alexis and respect her family's wishes. There are literally hundreds of incredible charities to choose from -- the National Center for Transgender Equality, the Los Angeles LGBT Center (not as local as it sounds), Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE), the Trevor Project, or your local LGBT center are all good places to start.

  2. Teach acceptance. Alexis was always public about her identity and her transition, even going so far as to have a documentary -- 2007's Alexis Arquette: She's My Brother -- made about her sex reassignment surgery. Being publicly trans isn't an easy thing, especially in Hollywood. But Alexis did it, and in doing so expanded our understanding of (and the conversation around) the trans community. It's on us to take what Alexis -- and others -- have taught us and help the generation behind us to create a world that's kinder to and more accepting of the LGBT community. 

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  3. Teach even more acceptance. Alexis was experimenting with the boundaries of sex and gender and queerness from a really young age. She had sex reassignment surgery in her late thirties, and by the end of her life, her brother said she was identifying as "gender suspicious." Part of the lesson she taught us is that there's no way to be quintessentially or perfectly trans, just like there's no way to be perfectly anything else. She taught us there are no rules and no lines to color outside of. She taught us to understand that she is the commander of her own identity and we can't impose our own ideas onto her. She taught us a lot, and these are lessons we need to pass on.

  4. Take action against anti-trans legislation. Bills like North Carolina's awful HB2 -- which exists to segregate public restrooms based on assigned sex instead of identified sex -- exist all over the country in different iterations and in different states of completion. It's easy to find out what's active in your state -- and what kind of action from you would be helpful to fight against them. Call us crazy, but we're pretty positive Alexis would be here for legal equality for the trans community.

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  5. Watch her movies. Okay, this one's as much for you as for Alexis, but you owe it to yourself to enjoy The Wedding Singer again. And Pulp Fiction. And Last Exit to Brooklyn. And we owe it to Alexis to give her work a little extra love, and to remember her through her art.

Image via Globe Photos/ZUMA Press/Splash News

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