"I love her. She's my sister," Leyva, who plays Gloria on the hit Netflix series, told reporters of Cox at a Television Critics Association panel at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills on Tuesday.
Leyva went on to explain that her real-life sister is transgender, which made filming a season-3 scene, in which Gloria verbally attacks Sophia (Cox), difficult.
RELATED VIDEO: The 3 Stages of Netflix Grief
But, ultimately, Leyva relied on Orange creator Jenji Kohan to tell the story responsibly.
"I had to trust that it was going to be done in a way to educate instead of foster more hate," Leyva said. "And it worked out."