LAVERNE COX is a three-time Emmy-nominated actress, Emmy-winning documentary film producer and a prominent human rights advocate born on this date in Mobile, Alabama.

Laverne’s groundbreaking role of  “Sophia Burset” in the critically acclaimed Netflix series Orange Is the New Black, brought her to the attention of a diverse audience all over the world. The role lead to Cox becoming the first openly transgender actress o be nominated for a Primetime acting Emmy.

An artist and an advocate with an empowering message of moving beyond gender expectations to live more authentically, Laverne is the first openly transgender person to appear on the covers of TIME Magazine, Cosmopolitan magazine and Essence magazines among others. She was named one of Glamour magazine’s 2014 Women of the Year. Laverne also won two SAG Awards, winning them with her Orange is the New Black cast mates.

Laverne Cox has been noted by her LGBT peers, and many others, for being a trailblazer for the transgender community, and has won numerous awards for her activist approach in spreading awareness. Her impact and prominence in the media has led to a growing conversation about transgender culture, specifically transgender women, and how being transgender intersects with one’s race.

She has a twin brother, musician M. Lamar, who appeared on Orange is the New Black in a flashback as the pre-gender transition of her character, Sophia.