LOS ANGELES (AP) — Before they strut down the red carpet at the Emmys, Jeffrey Tambor and Laverne Cox were among the honorees at the first-ever Television Industry Advocacy Awards.
Tambor and Cox were recognized Friday at the Creative Coalition event for their efforts in bringing attention to the transgender community.
"The opportunity to play a trans character as a trans actress has changed my life and also changed the lives of so many people who have seen me," said Cox, the "Orange is the New Black" co-star who was the first transgender actress to be nominated for an Emmy last year.
Tambor is up for the outstanding lead actor in a comedy series trophy at Sunday's Emmys for his role as a patriarch who opens up to his family about his struggles with gender identity in Amazon's "Transparent."
"('Transparent' creator) Jill Soloway gave me the responsibility and privilege of a lifetime," Tambor said. "I think my award should really be the Luckiest Guy in the Room Award."
Alfre Woodard was honored for her work with the Turnaround Arts initiative as part of the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities. She was brought to tears when presented with her trophy by Ron Gubitz, principal of the ReNEW Cultural Arts Academy in New Orleans.
"Arts in education makes it a complete education," said Woodard, who has volunteered at ReNEW and other schools. "Arts in society is imperative to have a civil society."
Other honorees at Friday's ceremony included "Entourage" co-star Constance Zimmer, "black-ish" actor Anthony Anderson, "Under the Dome" executive producer Neal Baer, "2 Broke Girls" co-star Beth Behrs, "Desperate Housewives" star Eva Longoria and "The Shawshank Redemption" actor Tim Robbins.
"This is an oasis in the middle of our week, to get to come and talk about issues and social causes, and not to shine a light on ourselves," said Pablo Schreiber, Robbins' "The Brink" co-star who accepted Robbins' award on his behalf.
Monica Lewinsky was on hand to present a trophy to her friend and "The Good Wife" actor Alan Cumming, who was honored for his advocacy on behalf of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.
"I know what you're all thinking," Lewinsky jokingly told the crowd at the Sunset Tower Hotel. "What the hell is Monica Lewinsky doing here?"
The inaugural ceremony was organized by TV Guide, TV Insider and The Creative Coalition, an entertainment industry advocacy group founded in 1989.
Follow AP entertainment writer Derrik J. Lang on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/derrikjlang