Jennifer Aniston, Martina Navratilova, Ugly Betty and Grey’s Anatomy have been honoured at the LA instalment of the 18th Annual GLAAD Media Awards on Saturday.

Although Grey’s Anatomy was in the headlines last year because of actor Isaiah Washington’s homophobic comments, it was a winner at the awards which recognise “mainstream media for their fair, accurate and inclusive representations of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.” The medical drama received a nod for outstanding episode for the show titled Where the Boys Are.

Ben Affleck, Neil Patrick Harris, Rachel Griffiths and Eva Mendes were among the dozens of celebrities who attended the event.

At the ceremony, Jake Gyllenhaal – star of Brokeback Mountain – presented Jennifer Aniston with GLAAD’s Vanguard Award, honouring media professionals who, through their work, have increased the visibility and understanding of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. Gyllenhaal and Aniston became friends while filming The Good Girl together.

“I want to thank GLAAD for their steadfast commitment to opening people’s minds,” Aniston said in her acceptance speech. “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.”

Also at the event, reality TV star Lance Bass presented the Stephen F. Kolzak Award to Tennis legend Martina Navratilova. The two met after Navratilova wrote a letter to People praising Bass’ coming-out interview in the magazine. The Stephen F. Kolzak Award is presented to an openly lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender media professional who has made a significant difference in promoting equal rights for the LGBT community.

“I want to thank the people at GLAAD for doing such amazing work over the years, especially now,” Navratilova said accepting her award. “Because we really need to define ourselves. We cannot let the Rick Santorums, Rush Limbaughs and the Ann Coulters of the world define who we are. We need to do that ourselves… get in the game.”

Little Miss Sunshine was awarded for Outstanding Film – Wide Release, Outstanding Drama Series went to Brothers & Sisters and Ugly Betty was noted as Outstanding Comedy Series.

Grey’s Anatomy co-star T.R. Knight opened the show. Welcoming the crowd Knight said, “I am angry at the inequality we face every day. I hope to turn my anger into action.”

On March 27 singer Patti LaBelle and designer Tom Ford were among the luminaries honoured for their gay-friendly stance at the GLAAD New York Media Awards.

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