Adding on to her list of firsts following her historic TIME Magazine cover last month, Laverne Cox made history again yesterday, becoming the first openly transgender woman to be nominated for an Emmy.
Cox received her first Emmy nomination for "Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series" for her role as Sophia Burset on the popular Netflix series Orange is the New Black. Cox plays a transgender woman who finds herself in prison after committing credit card fraud in order to pay for her sex change operations.
Orange is the New Black received a total of 12 Emmy nominations which is more than any other comedy that was nominated this year. Upon hearing of her costars' nominations, Cox tweeted:
— Laverne Cox (@Lavernecox) July 10, 2014
The OITNB star makes the distinction as being the first "openly" transgender actress to be nominated, as she knew of another actress to be nominated (and win) a few years ago but she was not out as transgender yet. TIME Magazine spoke to the actress about what the nomination means. "I was told many times that I wouldn't be able to have a career as a mainstream actor because I'm trans, because I'm black, and here I am. And it feels good," she said.
GLAAD, an organization that fights discrimination against people in the LGBT community, also sent out a statement following the news, saying that Laverne Cox continues to break barriers. "Today, countless transgender youth will receive the message that they can be who they are and still achieve their dreams- nothing is out of reach. Laverne's success on a hit series is a clear indication that audiences are ready for more trans characters on television," wrote GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis.
"Oh, my god, it's going to take awhile for me to get used to saying 'Emmy-nominated actress'," Cox said in an interview with the LA Times. "Part of me wonders why it's me because there's so many amazingly talented, smart, beautiful trans actors out there. It's weird that it's me having the big moment right now. There are people out there who deserve it as much and I'd like to send them a lot of love today."
Cox and the rest of the cast are currently in New York filming season three of Orange is the New Black.