Laverne Cox is legendary: The transgender actress and Emmy-winning producer broke onto the scene in 2013, when Netflix’s Orange Is the New Black premiered. Since her explosion into the public eye, Cox has blazed a trail for trans inclusion time and time again, covering TIME magazine, making Emmy’s history, and breaking ground on broadcast television, to name a few of her achievements.
Below, we highlight seven times Cox paved the way for the trans community.
Her role as Sophia in “Orange”
Cox’s prominent role as inmate Sophia Burset in Netflix’s Orange Is the New Black was groundbreaking for more reasons than one: As a black trans woman portraying a black trans woman, Cox set a prime example for authentic portrayals of characters from marginalized groups.
Her “TIME” magazine coverTIME
In May 2014, Cox broke ground as the first transgender person to cover TIME magazine in the publication’s nearly 100-year history. Staff writer Katy Steinmetz, who profiled Cox for a story in the magazine’s centerfold, declared the moment a “transgender tipping moment.”
Her “Glamour” Woman of the Year honorCindy Ord/Getty Images for Glamour
Also in 2014, Cox was Glamour’s Woman of the Year, an honor presented annually to a woman who breaks ground and enacts change.
“Her unparalleled candor, courage, and eloquence have helped us understand a community that is far too often misunderstood,” wrote newscaster Katie Couric, a two-time Woman of the Year recipient herself, about Cox. “She teaches us that gender identity lives, first and foremost, in our hearts and minds.”
Her Emmy nod…Kevork Djansezian/NBC/NBC via Getty Images
Cox became the first transgender person to be nominated for an Emmy Award in July 2014. But the history-making doesn’t stop there…
…and her Emmy winAxelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic
…a year later, Cox won an Emmy Award for Logo’s Laverne Cox Presents: The T Word, a documentary about transgender identity. The win marked the first time a transgender person took home an Emmy for an executive producer role.
Her nude photoshoot in “Allure”
— Laverne Cox (@Lavernecox) April 16, 2015
In April 2015, Cox bared it all for Allure’s “Nude” series, making her the first trans woman to pose nude for the publication.
“I said no initially, thought about it, and said no again,” she told the magazine. “But I’m a black transgender woman. I felt this could be really powerful for the communities that I represent.”
Her role as Cameron in “Doubt”Rob Kim/Getty Images
Most recently, Cox made headlines with her historic role in CBS’ Doubt as Cameron Wirth: In 2017, showrunners bumped her character up to a series regular, marking the first time a transgender actor landed a series regular role on primetime television.