Ugly Betty and Brothers & Sisters were among the winners at the annual Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) media awards.

The ABC sitcom starring America Ferrara as an unlikely resident of the fashion world was named the best comedy series for the second year running, with praise for its handling of gay and transgender issues.

Michael Urie stars as Betty's openly gay friend Marc in the comedy hit while X-Men actress Rebecca Romijn plays transsexual magazine editor Alexis Meade.

And ABC drama Brothers & Sisters, in which Welsh actor Matthew Rhys stars as gay lawyer Kevin, was named best drama series.

Other stars honoured at the 19th annual ceremony, which took place at the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles, included musician Rufus Wainwright who was presented with the Stephen F Kolzak award by actress Sharon Stone in recognition of his efforts to promote equal rights.

"I'd like to thank GLAAD so much for allowing the world to see us as we are – as human beings – and to fight for us when we are being defamed and maligned," the singer/songwriter said in his acceptance speech.

"And also to allow gay people, who think that everything's fine, to actually realise that it's not, and that there is a lot of work to do."

Fellow musician Janet Jackson was given the Vanguard award, offered to stars who have "have increased the visibility and understanding of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community".

"To everyone at GLAAD and everyone in this room, I would just to say that I hope I can always walk worthy of this award that I have both in my hand and my heart," she said accepting the prize.

Comedienne Kathy Griffin took the reality programme prize for My Life on the D-List while photographer Herb Ritts was posthumously honoured with the Pioneer award, accepted on his behalf by model Cindy Crawford.

28/04/2008 09:08:06