Norway’s Eurovision star is Iranian born refugee who fights for gay rights

Posted on 2012/05/26 by


When we saw Norway’s Eurovision entrée on Thursday night we loved the pretty looking singer and his catchy Lady Gaga meets Bollywood song. Little did we know that the handsome carefree looking young singer hid a sad back-story and that the green bracelet he was wearing was giving the finger to Iran and it’s anti-gay and anti-women regime.
Singer Tooji who turns 25 today reveals: : I want to support the Green Movement in Iran, they fight to make Iran more democratic. I want to use any fame I get from this to get their plight noticed. I hope Iran will change one day -especially the female and gay rights.”
Wearing the bracelet as a born Iranian, just as Iran has called back their ambassador from Azerbaijan, because the event was against Islamic rules was very daring. The government deemed it an “undignified gay event”.
Fighting the Iranian government runs in his family: his parents had to flee Iran when he was one-year-old, because they disagreed with the government. His three brothers would be forced into the army and his mother was not allowed to write or do anything creative. His politically aware parents could not live with this. Their campaigning made the government aware of them and this brought them in horrible danger. The family was smuggled out of the country to Norway by car, truck and train. After his mother published a damning biography about the Iranian regime eight years ago the family is persona non grata in Iran.
This week Tooji finally saw his aunt back after more then ten years, the Iranian government makes it impossible for his relatives to visit Norway, but she was allowed to visit Azerbaijan.
Tooji is a painter and also works at a shelter for troubled teenagers and also used to work at an asylum seekers centre, but this proved to traumatic when he identified with the refugees too much.
His friends told him to go for Eurovision, thinking it would be a chance to spread his message. They helped him write his song “I Want You To Stay” and he created the act. “The camp dance movements are part of who I am and when I perform the song I show a part of me.”

Posted in: Gay Rights