The actress was honored with the prestigious Vanguard Award at the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation's (GLAAD) 17th annual media awards ceremony.
The 30-year-old, who won an Oscar in 2003 for her portrayal of lesbian serial killer Aileen Wuornos in Monster, was presented the gong for increasing "visibility and understanding in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community."
Theron says, "I feel so fortunate that I am in a relationship with a wonderful man.
"I find it incredibly unfair that because of our sexual preference, we have the rights that we have, and that, because of someone else's sexual preference, they don't have those same rights."
Other winners on the night included Felicity Huffman's transgender movie Transamerica for outstanding film in limited release, lesbian TV drama The L Word for outstanding drama series and NBC's hit comedy Will & Grace for best comedy series.
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