Laverne Cox has become the first openly trans actress to ever be nominated for an Emmy award.

The Orange is the New Black star picked up a surprise nomination for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series, for her role as inmate Sophia Burset on the show.

She said on Twitter: “Congrats to everyone at [Orange is the New Black] on our #EmmyNoms today. So proud to be working with all of you on such a groundbreaking show. #oitnb

“Sharing #Emmy love with fellow nominee and co-star powerhouse Uzo Aduba. Congrats girl. Love you.”

Cox – who is also known for her trans advocacy work, and is making multiple trans-related documentaries – featured on the cover of TIME magazine earlier this year.

She was awarded GLAAD’s highest honour, the Stephen F. Kolzak award by X-Men star Ellen Page in April.

HBO’s acclaimed HIV drama The Normal Heart, based on the play of the same name about the life of Larry Kramer, swept the board in the nomination list, picking up 16 nods.

Jane Lynch, the openly lesbian star of the hit show Glee, was nominated for Outstanding Host For A Reality Program for her role in Hollywood Game Night. This marks her fourth Primetime Emmy nomination.

The Primetime Emmy Award ceremony will be held on 25 August 25 at the Nokia Theatre in Downtown Los Angeles, California and will be hosted by Seth Myers.

A trans actress has still never been nominated for an Oscar, though Jared Leto won an award for his criticized portrayal of a trans woman in Dallas Buyers Club.