Actress Kerry Washington is set to be honoured by the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (Glaad) at its annual Media Awards.

The Scandal star will be feted with the Vanguard Award, which recognises a member of the entertainment industry who has made a significant contribution to promoting equal rights for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (Lgbt) community.

Glaad's president Sarah Kate Ellis says in a statement, "Throughout her illustrious career, Kerry Washington has consistently brought to life characters that encourage acceptance of Lgbt people. 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 moves hearts and minds."

Past recipients of the award include Liza Minnelli, Charlize Theron, Drew Barrymore and Jennifer Lopez.

Washington will be given the honour at the annual ceremony in Los Angeles later this month (Mar15).