LOS ANGELES – Charlize Theron was honored with a top prize from the country's leading gay organization that monitors the media.
The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation presented its Vanguard Award to Theron at Saturday's 17th annual GLAAD Media Awards for increasing "visibility and understanding in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community."
"This is very surreal for me because two years ago, I stood right here and won my Oscar for 'Monster,'" Theron said in ceremonies at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood.
Last year, Theron told TV's "Extra" that she and her partner, Stuart Townsend, would not wed until gay and lesbian couples attained the legal right to marry.
"I feel so fortunate that I am in a relationship with a wonderful man," Theron said Saturday night. "I find it incredibly unfair that because of our sexual preference, we have the rights that we have, and that, because of someone else's sexual preference, they don't have those same rights."
Other winners included Felicity Huffman's transsexual road trip "Transamerica" for outstanding film in limited release; cable TV's chic lesbian ensemble "The L Word" for outstanding drama series, and NBC's "Will & Grace" for outstanding comedy series.
Actress Laura Dern presented Grammy-winning singer and openly lesbian breast cancer survivor Melissa Etheridge with the Stephen F. Kolzak Award.
The honor, named after a Los Angeles casting director, is given annually to "an openly lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender media professional who has made a significant difference in promoting equal rights for our community."
Past recipients have included Ellen DeGeneres, director Todd Haynes and actor Ian McKellen.
The GLAAD Media Awards — consisting of 41 categories — are split into four individual ceremonies, held in Los Angeles, New York, Miami and San Francisco.
The New York ceremony was held March 27 and included Sandra Bernhard and Czech model Petra Nemcova presenting an honor to photographer David LaChapelle. The Miami ceremony is scheduled for May 25 and the San Francisco event is set for June 10.
VH1 is scheduled to air the Los Angeles awards April 16.