The honor will be presented at the 26th Annual GLAAD Media Awards at the Beverly Hilton on March 21.
Previous Vanguard Award honorees include Jennifer Lopez, Kristin Chenoweth, Charlize Theron, Elizabeth Taylor, Antonio Banderas, Drew Barrymore, Janet Jackson, and Sharon Stone.
The organization noted that 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.” It noted that she has “tirelessly” spoken out in support of full equality for LGBT people and participated in GLAAD’s annual anti-bullying campaign, Spirit Day.
“Throughout her illustrious career, Kerry Washington has consistently brought life to characters that encourage acceptance of LGBT people,” said GLAAD President and 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.”