updated 03/19/2014 AT 2:45 PM ET
•originally published 03/24/2014 AT 3:30 PM ET
“It’s been everywhere, PEOPLE, CNN, all the way down to the little local paper in Belfast,” the Irish actor, 38, told PEOPLE on March 18 at the Season 4 premiere of Game of Thrones at New York’s Lincoln Theater. “I don’t want to be a figurehead or anything, but if I can help one person, I’ll be happy.”
What he seems to be helping with most is combating stereotypes.
“Some people say I don’t look like the typical gay person, whatever that means,” says the burly, 6’10” actor. “Obviously there’s so many different types of gay people, but some people don’t know that. Some people think we all look and act a certain type of way. So people have thanked me for that.”
For those who might have been taken aback by his recent revelation, “I don’t give a s— what the world thinks about me,” says Nairn, “I’ve got my mother and my family behind me, and most people have said lovely things.”
On the popular show, which returns April 6, Nairn’s character Hodor is in charge of carrying around Isaac Hempstead-Wright’s young paralyzed character Bran.
“It’s an honor,” says Nairn , “but my back is killing me. He’s getting so big!”