"Bold and the Beautiful" reveals transgender character

"The Bold and the Beautiful" revealed that a female character, played by a woman for the last two years, is transgender. The surprise is taking the long-running CBS daytime drama to a new level, reports "Entertainment Tonight" co-host Kevin Frazier

For years, fans of the show have known Maya Avant as a supermodel and fashion industry executive. But on Wednesday's episode they discovered something about her they didn't know - Avant is transgender.

Soap operas have been at the forefront of tackling controversial issues, but the twist came as a surprise to the actress playing her, Karla Mosley.

"She is a transgender woman and at first I was shocked and then I said, 'Thank you', because obviously as an actress, it's an incredible thing to play," Mosley said.

Variety executive editor Debra Birnbaum said while there have been transgender characters on soap operas before, "this is the first main character and it looks like it's going to be a recurring role."

For the actress, this revelation is an opportunity to both entertain and educate her audience.

"They're now basically going through this kind of disclosure process as each of the characters on the show are," Mosley said. "If I've loved this character for so long, why is this changing the way that I feel now?

At this point in the "The Bold and the Beautiful" storyline, there's still an important person who doesn't know Maya was born male -- her boyfriend, Rick Forrester.

"It's brave. It's brave of CBS," Mosley said. "We're excited and we're standing behind it and we feel that it's important."

It could be important for the show as well.

"Soaps are definitely going through a tough time right now," Birnbaum said. "But I think the fact that soaps can stay current is a great way to keep them at the top of the pop culture charts."

Mosley said this is the kind of opportunity she has prayed for.

"To be able to make change in the world through my art in a big way," she said.