photo: Instagram/msjackiecruz

Since landing her role on Orange Is The New Black, Laverne Cox has emerged as a forceful advocate for the transgender community on and off set, as fellow cast mate Jackie Cruz says that Cox’s efforts helped her understand more her own transgender cousin.

“I have a family member who is transgender and I didn’t understand a lot,” Cruz told People. “Getting to talk to Laverne, seeing her story on the show, seeing her real story, helped me understand a lot about my cousin.”

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Cox even toured the country where she gave her famous speech titled, “Ain’t I A Woman?” Cox recently made history as the first transgender actress to star in a prime-time broadcast series when Doubt premieres on CBS. She’s made a huge impact when it comes to transgender representation on television.

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I just feel like we have such a powerful platform right now,” Cruz said. “People are actually listening to what we’re saying. She’s actually changed my way of thinking. She’s probably changed the way of thinking for a lot of people.”