The 49-year-old actor is up for the Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series gong for his role in FX series "Pose" - making history in the process. Of the historic nomination, Billy, who is already a Tony Award winner, told People: "My breath is taken away. I'm so thrilled. It's an amazing feeling."
"I feel really blessed to have lived long enough to see this day, to see the world transform in this way, where our story gets to be told on this level with this kind of juice behind it, Ryan Murphy behind it. It's really life-altering."
Murphy co-created the series, about the African-American and Latino LGBTQ ballroom culture scene in New York in the 1980s, which also stars Mj Rodriguez, Angelica Ross and Evan Peters.
Following the Emmy nominations announcement, Rodriguez shared her joy after it was revealed "Pose" was also up for Outstanding Drama Series at the ceremony on 22 September.
"We just got nominated!" she said on Instagram Live. "We going to the Emmys, y'all. Can you believe that?"
Meanwhile, another show star Dominique Jackson added on her Instagram Live: "We are now part of an Emmy-nominated show, bi**hes! Trans women and men of America, of the world, we got this. I love y'all."