BEFORE & AFTER Alexis Arquette’s experiences as a transgender woman in Hollywood

Alexis Arquette Transgendered

On the upcoming premiere of Dream School, David Arquette encounters a transgender student struggling to overcome a lifetime of bullying. During their emotional conversation, David explained how he watched his own sister, Alexis Arquette, deal with similar problems as a transgender woman.

Alexis was born in 1969 as Robert Arquette, one of the middle children in the famous Hollywood family. From a young age, she identified as a girl.

“I remember Alexis growing up, and we’d be in school in kindergarten, and they’d say, ‘Get in line, boys here, girls here.’ Alexis would always get in the girls’ line,” sister Patricia Arquette explained to the Los Angeles Times in 2008.

Alexis began acting in her teens and had her first significant role as an androgynous character in Down and Out in Beverly Hills. A few years later, she played a transvestite named Georgette in Last Exit to Brooklyn. She then went on to minor roles in major films, including Pulp Fiction and The Wedding Singer.

Robert Arquette - Alexis Arquette
^Alexis Arquette in 2000.

Through it all, the fact that she identified as a woman was not in question — but that didn’t make things any easier for Alexis, who didn’t make the official male-to-female transition until her late 30s.

“I don’t know why I feel this way. Is me feeling female the same as J.Lo feeling black? I don’t know. I don’t know why she feels that way,” Alexis said at a press conference in 2007.

Alexis’ gender struggle became even clearer in 2007 when she allowed cameras to document her transition from male to female for Alexis Arquette: She’s My Brother. She was supported in the process by her self-described liberal family, which includes siblings David, Patricia, Richmond and Rosanna Arquette.

Arquette Siblings

The critically acclaimed documentary was described as a film that “focuses on a year and a half of dramatic change in the life of an enigmatic and outrageous Hollywood character as Alexis’ journeys toward becoming male-to-female. Well known as an actor, drag persona (‘Eva Destruction’) and one of a family of celebrity siblings, it wasn’t until a few years ago that Alexis began to live full-time ‘as a woman’ and revealed to family and friends her plans to seek sex reassignment surgery.”

Since then, Alexis has been an outspoken advocate for transgender safety causes.

“Coming out as transgender in America from a celebrity family is a lot easier than it can be for private individuals anywhere else in the world,” she told Entertainment Tonight in 2009. “In fact, if you come out as transgender in certain parts of the world, you may be murdered in the street. Legally, under their laws, you may be murdered.”

She also spoke out in support of Chaz Bono (née Chastity Bono), the transgender son of Sonny and Cher who transitioned from female to male between 2008 and 2010.

“Chastity made the choice to come out as transgender. Chastity never made the choice of being transgender,” Alexis told Entertainment Tonight, clarifying the headline on a People cover. “In fact, there are a lot of transgender people who look at the difficulty of living this way and think, ‘Is it worth it?’ Of course it is, because nobody would choose this life. Nobody would choose to be ostracized. Nobody would choose to be questioned, and eyes rolled when they walk in the room — nobody wants that. We all just want to be accepted for who we are.”



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  • Ashley Price

    Good Job on creating awareness. I applaud you, Alexis.

  • frontdoormom

    Alexis was the first person ive ever known to be transgendered and i consider myself a very close minded individual, however im glad her story was the first one to have learned of because it helped me understand and accept we are all different. Idk why i immediatelh grew fond of her…maybe as she mentioned it was easier (for her) to already be from a famous family. As if it were my first experience with a transgendered person face to face. Either way, much respect and much of luck for her and anyone else transitioning. I will never know what they feel and maybe will never 100% understand, as long as they feel complete and happy in the end.

    • Red

      Well said.

    • SS

      why do you consider yourself a very close minded individual? That’s a very open minded comment you made. Perhaps you once were close minded but you don’t seem like you are anymore. Kudos! Be proud of your open mind :)

      • frontdoormom

        Lol thank you. Because i do find myself passing judgment on others and feel its something i will always struggle with in a sense.. But again thank you :)

        • Julie

          I love that you are so honest.. keep up the good work.

  • sanoga

    Alexis, pull yo damn bra strap up! That’s just inexcusable!

  • Mike Dornfest

    Can you people stop saying SHE with these trans people.
    HE is a HE and always will be even after HE had fake boobs put in or took hormones to get them.

    No matter how you word it this MAN had his body altered to look like a female, a simulation end of story.

    I have a female character in my video game but it isn’t real. I can call it a her but it is just a bunch of pixels and data not an actual her.

    You keep giving credibility to these people when all it is, is a cut up altered MAN.

    If I put a Spiderman costume on that doesn’t make me Spiderman.

    • What

      That is one of the most ignorant things I have ever seen someone say on the internet.

      • spidey

        Actually, putting on that costume DOES make you Spiderman! Go put it on, and try to web-sling from a really tall building. Go ahead now.

    • Science

      Gender is in the brain, not the genitals, you rabid idiot. LEARN

      • reality

        guest IS correct…NO question
        if gender is “ONLY IN THE BRAIN”, why have the surgery?
        brain surgery doesnt change
        one’s gender, either
        transgender surgery & those that
        APPLAUD these decisions, will
        say exactly what to their
        CREATOR?
        or do you also believe in some
        big bang theory, evolution from
        “other” creatures, atheism,
        agnostics, & the like is just ways
        to attempt/live guilt-free…that
        they don’t/won’t be held
        accountable for giving in to their
        respective whims,desires, lusts,
        immorality…it’s a fated sign of
        our times(NO HATRED, NOT A
        PRUDE-REALITY CHECK THAT
        MOST DONT WANT TO HEAR)

        INVOLVED/RATHER A REALITY

      • reality

        just posting as “science” speaks
        for itself….science has is trumped
        by truth/reality
        because science/medicine has
        found a way(s) to amputate &
        disfigure one’s body doesn’t
        mean its moral, decent, smart,….
        read your science books and see
        if there is an explanation of our
        dna?(in other words, did our dna
        and genomes just “become” out
        of “thin air”? big bang? primates?
        science books are NOT even
        accurate to begin with! when the
        respective “publishers” are shown to be in need of corrections/updating/deletions,
        most (if not all) will keep on
        printing inaccuracies.
        SCIENCE VS REALITY
        WHAT A CONCEPT

      • Jess

        Well, so is drug addiction, pornography, molestation, etc., but you don’t give in to it!!! We ALL have the choice to fix what’s not normal.

  • reality

    CREATING AWARENESS OF WHAT
    EXACTLY ASHLEY PRICE? THAT TOO
    MANY PEOPLE HAVE TURNED AWAY
    FROM TRUTH? THE TRUTH IS WHAT
    MOST DONT WANT TO HEAR OR
    ACCEPT…LETS FACE IT-MORE AND
    MORE PEOPLE ARE SIMPLY AND
    “ACCEPTEDLY” AGNOSTICS OR
    ATHEISTS & MANY WONT EVEN
    ACTUALLY ADMIT IT EITHER.
    LIKE IT/ACCEPT IT OR NOT, THIS HAS ALL BEEN FORETOLD HUNDREDS OF YEARS AGO BY
    PERSONS FAR GREATER THAN
    OURSELVES.
    ITS NOT WHAT YOU KNOW, BUT
    WHAT YOU DO WITH THAT KNOWLEDGE. ITS NOT HOW MUCH
    YOUVE READ, BUT WHAT YOU’VE
    READ. ACTIONS/”INACTIONS” WILL
    ALWAYS SPEAK LOUDER THAN
    MERE WORDS. MOST CANT/WON’T
    HANDLE THE TRUTH…WHICH IN
    PART, EXPLAINS MORE MORE DRUG
    USAGE & DEVELOPMENT OF NEWER
    REC DRUGS; ALCOHOL ABUSE;
    SUICIDES; & NOT BEING “REAL”!

  • reality

    THESE DAYS, THE ENTIRE STATUS
    OF OUR MORALITY IS PERHAPS AT
    THE LOWEST IN CENTURIES….IN THE
    SENSE OF “ACCEPTANCE” & THESE
    EN MASSE STANDING OVATIONS FOR PERVERSIONS OF ONES BODY
    & MIND.
    ….AND IT IS ONLY GOING TO GET
    WORSE (TRANSLATION FOR THE
    “MASSES” – GOING TO BECOME
    EASIER/MORE AND MORE EN VOGUE/ACCEPTABLE TO BE
    MORAL-FREE)…THEN WHAT?
    THIS IS THE LIBERATION YOU SO
    DESPERATELY WANTED?
    IT IS HARDLY ANY WONDER WHY
    SO MANY PEOPLE ARE ABUSING,
    USING, HURTING, KILLING, &
    “GETTING AWAY WITH IT”