Actress Selenis Leyva from NETFLIX hit series 'Orange Is The New Black' reaction to Caitlyn Jenner's intro

Jesus Figueroa
Selenis Leyva is one of the breakout stars of NETFLIX's hit series "Orange Is The New Black," which recently won the coveted Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Ensemble Cast in a Comedy Series.

Leyva will reprised her role as series regular Gloria Mendoza when the hit series returned for a third season on June 12 and will also make history as the first Latina Governor on HBO's Emmy-winning series "Veep" starring opposite Julia Louis-Dreyfus, later this summer.

Leyva recently joined the cast of the highly anticipated feature film “CUSTODY.” starring opposite Catalina Sandino Moreno, Viola Davis, Raul Esparza and Hayden Panettiere and began filming in May 2015 throughout NYC.

Leyva's numerous television credits include recurring roles on hit shows like "Law & Order: SVU," "Blue Bloods," "The Good Wife," "Girls," "Elementary," "The Following," "The Sopranos" and "Third Watch."

On the big screen, she's been seen in "Sex & The City 2," the Oscar-nominated film "Maria Full of Grace," and the animated films "Ice Age:Continental Drift," "EPIC" and "Ice Age: Dawn of Dinosaurs."

A triple threat, Leyva also has numerous acting credits on the New York Stage, including the iconic role of CELIA CRUZ in the off-Broadway hit "Celia" and the critically acclaimed plays "Ana in the Tropics" and "Dona Flor & Her 2 Husbands."

Born and raised in New York City, Leyva is a proud Latina of Cuban and Dominican descent. In addition to being the first Hispanic Ambassador for the Gabrielle's Angel Foundation for Cancer Research (her brother is a 2x cancer survior), Leyva is also the recipient of a 2014 ALMA Award, a Special Achievement Award for breaking barriers in the arts. She is also an advocate for LGBT rights and works closely with LGBT Human Rights Organizations and Anti- Bullying Campaigns.

"My initial feelings and thoughts about the Bruce Jenner (at the time of Diane Sawyer interview) and now Caitlyn Jenner on the cover of Vanity Fair were pure joy, excitement, progress, possibility and change. Like many I cried thinking of all the years she was unable to live her real life. I celebrate her courage and yes, I marvel over her beauty.
Today however, I woke up with sadness. I questioned this, after all, I was on such an emotional high the night before. You see, I am not only a supporter of the LGBT community, I am a sister to a beautiful and kind young transgender woman. Suddenly it became clear to me where my sadness was coming from. The reality is that most transgender people continue to struggle with acceptance. Most will not be celebrated and put on magazine covers. I am NOT by any means taking away from the importance and impact of what is happening in the Transgender movement with the courageous stories being shared by Caityln and my smart, talented and yes beautiful co star Laverne Cox. I am simply sharing my story based on my life with a Latina transgender sister, my family and our continued struggles. My sister is not famous, in fact she is having a hard time finding employment to this date. She is still struggling to be accepted, she is still in danger everytime she leaves her home.
I feel sadness today because the majority of the trans community cannot afford the numerous surgeries needed in order to somehow be accepted by society. In fact, many struggle to simply get decent health care. So yes, yesterday I, like millions ,celebrated the Vanity Fair cover. Today I hope we don't lose sight that this is not the norm for your average Transgender person.
Let's continue to move forward.
Let's continue to educate.
Let's continue to have conversations.
Let's not forget how the majority live.
Thank you to all who support the LGBT community.
Keeping it real and keeping it moving
With Love & Respect"
-Selenis Leyva

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