(smh.com.au) - Janet Jackson has been honoured for her work in the gay community, receiving the Vanguard Award at the 19th Annual GLAAD (Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) Award.
The ceremony, held in Los Angeles' Kodak Theatre on Saturday, were presented by lesbian US talk show host Ellen DeGeneres.
Upon receiving her award, Janet said: "I love it. I never expected it in a million years so when I heard they wanted to honour me, I was really taken aback. It's just for the work that I've done with AIDS and acknowledging the gay and lesbian community through my music and so on. I'm just very appreciative."
Janet has always been vocal about gay rights, and even wrote her number one single Together Again as a tribute to a close friend who died from AIDS.
She added: "Even when I was younger, when I was growing up, my mother was very religious but there were a lot of kids who were dancers that she brought into the home and now that I think about it, they were gay.
"They all called her 'Mother' and she treated every one of them like they were her children. And that's where it kind of started, I suppose. I've been around the community all my life."
Other recipients of accolades included TV shows Ugly Betty for Outstanding Comedy Series and Brothers and Sisters for Outstanding Drama Series.
Musician Rufus Wainwright was presented with the Stephen F. Kolzak Award by Sharon Stone, for being an openly homosexual professional who has helped promote equal rights for gay, lesbian and bisexual individuals.
Previous recipients of the Vanguard Award include Charlize Theron, Antonio Banderas, Liza Minnelli and Whoopi Goldberg.