Jennifer Aniston was awarded the Vanguard Award at the 18th annual Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) awards ceremony in Los Angeles.

The Friends star was one of many celebrities who attended the event, including Martina Navratilova, Jake Gyllenhaal and members of the Grey's Anatomy and Ugly Betty casts.

Aniston was recognised at the GLAAD awards for the fair and accurate representations of the lesbian, gay bisexual and transgender community.

Upon accepting her award, Aniston said: "I want to thank GLAAD for their steadfast commitment to opening people's minds.

"This is called the Vanguard Award which in some ways suggests I'm at the forefront. But I'm here with you tonight to say that I'm proud to stand not in front of you, but I stand right beside you. I commend you."

T R Knight, star of hospital drama Grey's Anatomy, opened the ceremony by saying that the "inequality we face every day" angered him, but he wanted to turn that anger "into action".

The GLAAD awards will be shown on TV for the third consecutive year, televised by Logo - which is the MTV Networks' channel for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender viewers.

As well as Aniston winning the Vanguard award, tennis star Navratilova was given the Stephen F Kolzak Award and the Outstanding Comedy Series gong went to Ugly Betty.

16/04/2007 15:35:49