The gala will be held on Friday, Oct. 20 at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel

By Natalie Stone
July 27, 2017 11:00 AM
Courtesy GLSEN

Kerry Washington will be honored with the Inspiration Award at the 2017 GLSEN Respect Awards in Los Angeles, PEOPLE can reveal.

At its gala on Oct. 20, GLSEN — the leading national education organization creating safe and inclusive schools for LGBTQ students — will recognize the 40-year-old Scandal star for her dedication in making activism an integral part of her on-screen career.

“GLSEN shines a light on the importance of safe and supportive schools for LGBTQ students and it’s an honor that they invited me to be a recipient of their Inspiration Award,” Washington, a longstanding and vocal supporter of LGBTQ rights, said in a statement.

“I’m also excited to help celebrate GLSEN’s fearless student leaders who help make a difference in their schools and communities,” Washington, who worked with President Obama’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities to help bring essential arts education to low-performing schools, continued. “These impressive high schoolers are accomplishing more than most people do in a lifetime!”

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Introduced in 2004 and held annually in L.A. and New York, the GLSEN Respect Awards showcase the work of students, educators, community leaders and corporations who serve as role models and have made a significant impact on the lives of LGBTQ youth.

Past L.A. GLSEN honorees include Jessica Biel and Justin Timberlake; Julia Roberts and Danny Moder; and Kate Hudson.

The awards, which will welcome approximately 600 guests, will be held Friday, Oct. 20 at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills. For more information, visit