Hundreds of guests, gay elected officials, a silent auction, a sit-down dinner and more than a few LGBT heroes came together on Friday for a salute to equality at the 8th Annual Evening for Equality.

Among those dressed in their best and soaking up the fancy surrounds of the Twelve Hotel on Friday were nearly every gay elected official in Atlanta and at the Gold Dome. Just a week after donning drag (watch video) to raise money for the Rush Center where Georgia Equality resides, the group’s executive director, Jeff Graham, was back in suit and tie and in his non-campy zone on Friday to welcome the likes of LGBT officials Fulton County Commissioner Joan Garner and Atlanta City Council member Alex Wan.

Other gay politicos included lesbian state Rep. Simone Bell, whose gay vs. gay-friendly re-election race caused a “straight bigotry” stir for Georgia Equality, and state Rep. Rashad Taylor, whose own Democratic primary race is seeing some anti-gay campaigning. They’re just two of the gay Georgia lawmakers facing election and re-election battles this year.

But the big night was all about the champions for equality receiving awards. Iconic U.S. Rep. John Lewis gave a rousing speech when picking up his award for ongoing LGBT support. More honors went to Larry Lehman of AID Gwinnett, Jerry Gonzalez of the Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials, as well as Craig Washington and Darlene Hudson, organizers of gay Atlanta’s annual Bayard Rustin/Audre Lorde Breakfast.

Photos by Randall Carpenter