Can an Un-Repentant Ex-Tranny Find a Place in the Beatific Vision?

Outside the narrow and parochial hipster community in Hollywood, practically no one had ever heard of Robert Arquette. Had he not been born into the Arquette acting clan—David, Patricia, and Rosanna—he likely wouldn’t have even been known there either. He had bit roles in a few Independent movies, but mostly performed in Hollywood drag shows where he was a fixture. That his death a few weeks ago made national news is chalked up mostly to the oddity of his life and even stranger death.

Robert Arquette remembered how, at age two, he ran around in high-heels and wigs when his family lived for a few years in a cult-like hippie commune near Front Royal, Virginia. It was at the Front Royal commune that he recalled his growing awareness of his real “gender identity.” He fantasized about “lining up with the girls and wanting to wear dresses.”

By the age of 16, with his family then living permanently in Los Angeles, Robert started going by the name of Alexis. He got a role as a tortured and closeted teen drag queen in the movie Last Exit to Brooklyn, and as a Boy George impersonator in The Wedding Singer.

He did a stint on the reality show My Surreal Life where he roomed with Sherman Hensley of The Jeffersons fame and the lead singer of the rock band Smash Mouth. At some point Alexis decided to “transition” into a woman. It is reported that he was never castrated, though it appears he received breast augmentation surgery, and massively plumped up his lips with Botox. His “transition” was documented in the movie “Alexis Arquette: She’s My Brother.”

None of this paid the rent and Arquette lived on the edge of poverty, particularly after he was diagnosed with HIV twenty years ago. Arquette lived most of his life cavorting around the clubs of Hollywood, a “party-girl” and a transgender hero and pioneer.

When Arquette finally succumbed to HIV-AIDS, he was surrounded by his famous family who had allowed him to live in a Hollywood apartment building reserved for actors with AIDS and incomes less than $29,000 a year.

Because glam-rock was his favorite genre, while he lay dying, they played David Bowie’s song Starman. He also asked his family to cheer “the moment that he transitioned to another dimension” which they dutifully, and probably happily, did.

Upon his death, Arquette’s brother Richmond announced on Facebook, “Our brother Robert, who became our brother Alexis, who became our sister Alexis, who became our brother Alexis [has] passed…”

Strange was piled on strange was piled on yet more strange. But there was even more.

After he died his friend and fellow drag performer Sham Ibrahim released a video; it is a masterpiece of vapidity and is deeply sorrowful to watch.

Sitting on a bed in what looks like a single occupancy hotel, which is probably his final charity apartment, Arquette is decked out in his exaggerated drag make-up as he opines on the meaning of life.

I think maybe the meaning of life would be pointless. Why try to figure out something that you’re never going to know. Okay? It’s futile. Anybody who spends their time, even people who write books, and philosophers, and religious people, waste my time and yours. Okay, because it’s just like making up stories. Hey! What if it’s this? What if it’s that? What if it’s that? Oh, maybe it’s this? Hah, great. You don’t know, till you’re dead. You will die. That is the only thing we know and that’s you will be dead. Very soon.

Arquette is laughing and campily sneering.

Asked what he thinks happens after death, he says, “I think if there is life beyond life, I think it’s whatever you expect it to be. I think, if I were to gamble, if I were a gambling lady, and I wanted to make a bet on what life would be like after death, it’s sort of like a tear in the ocean. Very retarded. I am sure somebody else already said that, some stupid philosopher. I really do think it’s just like you’re … they say that energy never goes away. I don’t know if that’s true.”

The video then cuts to an image of Arquette dressed like a thousand-dollar-a-night hooker, cavorting on the Hollywood Walk-of-Fame star of his grandfather Cliff Arquette. Then we see him drawing a crying and ghostly picture of himself on a chalkboard backstage at some seedy nightclub, then brushing out his long blond hair and applying lipstick to his mammoth Botoxed lips, the kind that are never seen in nature.

Our hearts must break watching all this. This is a man/boy who is utterly lost, who has wasted his life and now at the end is clearly in a kind of despair. He has been led astray his whole life and has allowed himself to be led astray.

We are not allowed to judge the state of anyone’s soul and, while Sacred Scripture teaches there are those in Hell, the Church does not presume to know their names. What we know, what we are taught is that dying in a state of unconfessed mortal sin will land you there.

So, what about Robert Arquette?

Consider this. While each of us is born with a part of the natural law, our part is limited to only a few elements: a desire for self-survival, survival of the species, and a desire to know the truth. All the rest is taught to us, filled in for us, by certain mediating institutions, the Church chief among them, but also the family and the wider culture. It is entirely possible that those mediating institutions can become so degraded that the natural law is lost from them. They are no longer the teachers they are meant to be. The Church may never lose the natural law. That would be impossible, though it can be lost to those ecclesial communities that cut themselves off from the One True Church. But families may lose it and certainly the wider culture can lose the natural law.

Without a doubt this has happened in our own culture and a plausible case can be made that it has been lost in the tiny parochial culture that is Hollywood. You can also see that Arquette was born into a family that was not anchored to the truth. His father was a Catholic, but what kind? He took his kids into a cultic hippie commune and later converted to Islam. What kind of education was Robert Arquette provided in his crazy Hollywood family?

I have little doubt there are pockets of faith in Hollywood. There are Churches there. I have attended Mass in Hollywood and in Beverly Hills. What did Arquette think as he passed those Churches? What did he think if and when he saw Pope John Paul II on TV, or Benedict, or Francis? It is not like the truth was not out there to find. Was his conscience so wounded, was his intellect so darkened that the truth could not penetrate?

There is such a thing as invincible ignorance, where someone through no fault of his own, has lost the natural law and any road to the natural law has turned to dust. It is clearly a tricky thing and something no one should count on. Still, it is a real thing. If you watch the video I quote from above, you will see someone utterly lost. Is he invincibly lost?

At the end of his life, Arquette had stopped “presenting” as a woman. He said “gender is b*ll-sh*t.” He said surgery cannot change biology. Maybe some truth, through lived experience, got through.

The General Judgment will be a remarkable thing. All will be revealed on that day. It is entirely possible that we will be pleasantly surprised to find Robert Arquette right there where we hope to be ourselves.

Editor’s note: Pictured above is Robert Arquette playing a “Culture Club”-type lead singer in a scene from the 1998 movie The Wedding Singer starring Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler.

Austin Ruse

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Austin Ruse is president of C-FAM (Center for Family & Human Rights), a New York and Washington DC-based research institute. He is the author of Fake Science: Exposing the Left’s Skewed Statistics, Fuzzy Facts, and Dodgy Data published by Regnery. He is also the author of the new book Little Suffering Souls: Children Whose Short Lives Point Us to Christ published by Tan Books. The views expressed here are solely his own.

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