Laverne Cox makes history as 1st transgender actress nominated for an Emmy

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Laverne Cox has been nominated for an Emmy in the “Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series” category for her role as Sophia Burset — an inmate who committed fraud in an attempt to pay for a sex change procedure—in the Netflix series, “Orange Is the New Black.”

She is the first transgender actress, on record, to be nominated for this honor. Ever.

Cox caught up with TIME yesterday and had these thoughts to share:

“I was told many times that I wouldn’t be able to have a mainstream career as an actor because I’m trans, because I’m black, and here I am,” she said. “And it feels really good.”

The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamantion made it known that Cox constantly “breaks barriers” in her advancement of the LGBTQ cause. In addition to being the first Emmy transgender nominee, she’s also the first transgender person to cover TIME just last month.

Interestingly, Cox makes the distinction of describing herself as “openly trans,”as she says she knows of another transgender woman who won an Emmy years ago, but was not out.

“Today, countless transgender youth will hear 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,” said GLAAD president and chief executive, Sarah Kate Ellis.

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