Kerry Washington to receive Vanguard Award at the 26th Annual GLAAD Media Awards #glaadawards

GLAAD announced it will honor Golden Globe and Emmy-nominated actress Kerry Washington at the 26th Annual GLAAD Media Awards in Los Angeles at the Beverly Hilton on March 21, 2015. The GLAAD Media Awards recognize and honor media for their fair, accurate and inclusive representations of the LGBT community and the issues that affect their lives. The GLAAD Media Awards also fund GLAAD's work to amplify stories from the LGBT community and issues that build support for equality.

E! News first reported that Washington will receive GLAAD's Vanguard Award, which is presented to media professionals who have made a significant difference in promoting equality. Previous Vanguard Award honorees include Jennifer Lopez, Kristin Chenoweth, Charlize Theron, Elizabeth Taylor, Antonio Banderas, Drew Barrymore, Janet Jackson, and Sharon Stone.

Washington became the first African American woman to a headline a network TV drama since 1974 when she took on the role of Olivia Pope on the LGBT-inclusive show Scandal, executive produced by Shonda Rhimes. Her performance on this hit ABC show has earned her numerous accolades including Golden Globe, Emmy, and SAG Best Actress nominations as well as an NAACP Image Award for Best Actress.

In addition to appearing in LGBT-inclusive projects like Scandal, Peeples, She Hate Me, The Dead Girl, and Life is Hot in Cracktown, Washington has tirelessly spoken out in support of full equality for LGBT people. She has has participated in GLAAD's annual anti-bullying campaign, Spirit Day, by wearing purple to show her support for LGBT youth, and talked about the importance of stopping bullying on Jimmy Kimmel Live.

She has spoken out against the repression of LGBT people in Russia and Africa, and advocated for marriage equality for same-sex couples. Washington was also appointed by President Barack Obama to the President’s Committee of the Arts and Humanities in 2009, and in 2014 Washington was named to Time's 100 Most Influential list.

Washington’s other films include Save the Last Dance, Lift (for which she received an Independent Spirit nomination), The Human Stain, Sin, Ray, Mr & Mrs Smith, I Think I Love My Wife, Miracle At St. Anna, Mother and Child, The Last King Of Scotland, Night Catches Us, Lakeview Terrace, The Details, and Django Unchained.

"Throughout her illustrious career, Kerry Washington has consistently brought life to characters that encourage acceptance of LGBT people,” said GLAAD President & CEO Sarah Kate Ellis. “Her outspoken support for equality, both here at home and abroad, has sent messages of hope and empowerment to fans all over the world, fostering dialogue that builds understanding and helps move hearts and minds.”​ You can watch a video of Washington presenting the Golden Gate Award to Shonda Rhimes at the 23rd Annual GLAAD Media Awards:

GLAAD previously announced that Channing Tatum will present the Stephen F. Kolzak Award to out director Roland Emmerich at the Los Angeles event: http://glaad.org/mediaawards