Welcome to the Miss Fat Gay Venezuela Pageant

Being fat in Venezuela is taboo. The country seems to breed Miss Universe winners! But a different kind of beauty pageant is taking Hugo Chavez's homeland by storm these days. And if you thought being pudgy was taboo, what about being overweight, gay and a queen? Downright scandalous.

Miss Fat Gay Venezuela is a new kind of pageant that aims to challenge Venezuela's traditional view of beauty and sexuality.  "We want to show that we too can be beautiful and sexy," Alexander Armas, 50, a pageant organizer, told The Guardian. "We're invaded by images of thin people. It's time to do something about it."

By highlighting large, gay men, the new beauty pageant manages to both celebrate Venezuela's proud history of pageant domination while at the same time subverting it. "We are coming out of the shadows, we are more accepted," says Alberto Rodriguez, 23 (aka Ms. Lara). "We all have rights, gays and fat people as much as anyone."

Although Chavez has been quite vocal in his support of gay rights, he has stopped just short of endorsing same-sex marriage and a bill to legalize the unions has been stalled. "As a socialist and a revolutionary I disapprove of pageants as a meat parade, but tonight's show is different." says Gabriel Silva. "It's about transformation."