The United States’ Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) has announced that it will honour South African born Oscar winning actress Charlize Theron. The organization will also be honouring singer Melissa Etheridge, photographer David LaChapelle, and People en Español editor Richard Pérez-Feria at the 17th Annual GLAAD Media Awards.

Theron is to be awarded the Vanguard Award, which is presented to media professionals who, through their work, have increased the visibility and understanding of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. Past recipients include Antonio Banderas, Eric McCormack, Shirley MacLaine, Vanessa Redgrave, Elizabeth Taylor, Liza Minnelli, and Whoopi Goldberg.

Over the past ten years, Charlize Theron has established herself as one of the leading actresses in Hollywood, receiving recognition from the Academy Awards, the Golden Globes, the Screen Actor’s Guild, and the National Board of Review. According to a statement issued by GLAAD, “In 2003’s Monster, Theron found the humanity within serial killer Aileen Wuornos, who spent her life abused by men, but dreamed of a new life with her girlfriend, Selby.”

Late last year, Theron solidified her support of the LGBT community when she told Extra that she and partner Stuart Townsend would not wed until the day when gay and lesbian couples attain full marriage rights.

The GLAAD Media Awards will take place in four ceremonies to be held in New York on March 27, Los Angeles on April 8, Miami on May 25, and San Francisco on June 10.

At the New York City ceremony, GLAAD will present the Vito Russo Award to award-winning celebrity photographer David LaChapelle. At the Los Angeles ceremony GLAAD will present the Vanguard Award to Theron and the Stephen F. Kolzak Award to rock icon Melissa Etheridge. In Miami, at the first GLAAD Media Awards event focused on Spanish-language nominees, People en Español editor Richard Pérez-Feria will receive the Visibilidad Award.

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