Jeffrey was honored to sit down with Janet, who is a New York Times best-selling transgender author for her book Redefining Realness. He was equally humbled to be playing the role of a trans woman on the streaming series.
"The honor of being able to play Maura is transformative," Jeffrey told Janet in his ET interview. "I'm 70 years old. I should be in a reading room, reading Dickens or something."
While the show racks up accolades (it was nominated for Golden Globes for Best TV Series, Comedy and Best Performance by an Actor in a TV Series, Comedy for Tambor's impressive turn) not everyone is quick to accept the notion of a non-trans actor playing a trans character.
"I understand because they have been so maligned," Jeffrey said. "Everyone titters at the idea at first, and then they see it -- especially the scene where she comes out -- and everyone just calms down."
The Arrested Development alum said that the biggest lesson he's learned about the transgender community is that "lives are at stake."
"The conversation needs to go forward, and there needs to be freedom," he said. "Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is part of our constitutional rights and it belongs to everybody."
This has been a groundbreaking year for the transgender community in entertainment, as Orange Is the New Black stars trans actress Laverne Cox as a trans female inmate and BBC America's Orphan Black introduced Tony Sawicki, a trans male clone of Sarah played by Tatiana Maslany.
And on the heels of Transparent's nominations, ABC Family ordered My Transparent Life, a new transgender docu-series produced by Ryan Seacrest. Other networks are planning transgender-themed programs as well. HBO is teaming up with Lena Dunham to film a documentary about a Brooklyn tailor who specifically works for transgender clients, and earlier this year, VH1 and Tyra Banks announced they were launching a new docu-series, TransAmerica with model Carmen Carrera.
The Golden Globe Awards, hosted by Amy Poehler and Tina Fey, air live on Jan. 11 at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on NBC.