Lots of TV viewers know openly gay, Irish-born actor Kristian Nairn even if they don’t know him by name. That’s because he used to play Hodor the gentle half-giant with mental disabilities in HBO’s fantasy-drama series Game of Thrones. Nairn’s character died last season, but Nairn still has life enough in him to consider running for office in Northern Ireland.
Although he stated that he has no current plans to run, Nairn recently spoke to the Belfast Telegraph about Northern Ireland’s failure to legalize same-sex marriage. “I really don’t understand why we’re the only little enclave of the country that can’t do it,” he said. “I definitely would be prepared to make the change myself if it’s going to help my community and help other people.”
Although Ireland legalized same-sex marriage in Nov. 16, 2015, many people don’t realize that Northern Ireland is separate entity from Ireland, complete with its own government. The Northern Ireland Assembly has actually voted on marriage equality five times since 2012, but four of those times it won a minority of Assembly votes; the most recent time it won a majority, but a petition of concern filed by the Democratic Unionist Party kept the vote from having any legal impact.
Northern Ireland’s ban on same-sex marriage has a legal challenge winding its way through the courts, but it could take years before it has any national impact either.
“It’s just making sure that everyone’s treated equally. Is that so progressive? I don’t think it’s progressive, I think it’s human,” Nairn continued. “And not just gay people: women’s rights, immigrants, people of different ethnic backgrounds. I just don’t see why people are treated differently or with a different set of rules. It’s just wrong.”
Fans of Hodor might not realize that Nairn is also a DJ who once worked as drag performer called Revvlon. He also runs a support service for gay and bisexual men called the Rainbow Project.