updated 03/11/2014 AT 2:00 PM ET
•originally published 03/11/2014 AT 3:00 PM ET
Game of Thrones actor Kristian Nairn says he’s gay and he’s never hidden that fact.
Nairn, who plays gentle giant Hodor on the series, revealed his sexuality Tuesday in an interview with the website WinterIsComing.net. When asked about his character’s popularity among gay fans, he replied, “Well, in all honesty, when you talk about ‘the gay community,’ you are talking about MY community, haha.”
But the 38-year-old Irishman says he’s always been open about who he is, even if GoT viewers (and reporters) never realized it.
“I’ve never hidden my sexuality from anyone, my whole life in fact, and I’ve been waiting for someone to ask about it in an interview, [because] it’s not something you just blurt out,” he continued. “I’ve tried to lead questions a few times, to no avail!”
And though their characters wage war against one another onscreen, Nairn says his costars have been nothing but supportive.
“It’s a very small part of who I am on the whole, but nonetheless, in this day and age, it’s important to stand up and be counted. I have and always will stand my ground,” he said. “So, yeah, people have been great, on the show, but I don’t see why it would be an issue.”
Catch Nairn on TV when Game of Thrones returns April 6 on HBO.