Norway: Tooji on Eurovision, sexuality, and why he’s banned from Iran

The name Tooji should be synonymous to keen Eurovision fans with the world’s biggest display of wind machines, costume reveals and key changes. Either for his song, his disappointing final result or his off-screen drama involving 2012 host country Azerbaijan’s controversial human rights record, the Norwegian entrant certainly had an interesting experience.

He explained that in addition to wanting to voice his support for the protests and rights for marginalised communities — an issue that is of great importance and significance for him — he wanted to shine a light on his native Iran’s human rights record. It was something that resulted in Tooji being banned from ever returning to his native land.

Fighting for the rights of women, children and LGBTI people is a cause that comes naturally to Tooji, not only because of personal experiences in Iran with his family, but also because of bullying during his childhood in Norway. “I think it’s just basically being a human. How could I not be interested in standing up for human rights? As a human race we want to be told how to think and we want these boxes to tick and clear lines to follow,” he said. Read More