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Last Updated: Sunday, 9 April 2006, 11:49 GMT 12:49 UK
Actress Theron awarded gay prize
Charlize Theron at the 17th annual GLAAD awards in Los Angeles
The South African-born star earned a second Oscar nomination in 2006
Actress Charlize Theron has been honoured for increasing "visibility and understanding" in the gay community.

The star was presented with the Vanguard Award at the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation's (GLAAD) annual media awards in Los Angeles.

Last year, Theron reportedly said on TV that she would not wed boyfriend Stuart Townsend until gay marriage is legally recognised in the US.

Her portrayal of lesbian serial killer Aileen Wuornos won an Oscar in 2004.

"This is very surreal for me because two years ago, I stood right here and won my Oscar for Monster," Theron said, at the ceremony at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood.

Sexual preference

"I feel so fortunate that I am in a relationship with a wonderful man," she said on Saturday.

"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 at the 17th annual media awards included TV sitcom Will & Grace, named outstanding comedy series, and Transamerica, starring Oscar nominee Felicity Huffman as a pre-op male to female transsexual.

Actress Laura Dern presented singer Melissa Etheridge with the Stephen F Kolzak Award for her stand in "promoting equal rights for our community".

The awards are split into four ceremonies in cities across the US including New York, Los Angeles, Miami and San Francisco.

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