Homo Erectus: The Evolution of Us – LGBTQA: Be a Dragon

By : Steve Yacovelli
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DISCLAIMER: this article has nothing to do with grand wizards or Harry Potter stuff (but “Expelliarmus David Duke!”). However, it does have some “Game of Thrones” spoilers in it … so be warned!

When I mention the names “Grey Worm,” “Little Finger,” “Ramsay Bolton” or “The Queen of Thorns,” I’m not talking about new categories for gay men nor of adult porn stars or even that new sarcastic bitch you met at brunch last week.

No friends: we’re talking “Game of Thrones” … the HBO sensation whose Season Seven finale aired recently. As I’ve been watching this amazing series this season it struck me what we who are fighting for the rights and equity for the LBGTQ Community have faced, and continue to face, has some striking similarities to the themes and stories within the “Game of Thrones” world, and I think there’s some lessons we can learn from a trip to The Seven Kingdoms.

Lesson #1: Help “Break the Wheel” … While so many of the characters in “Game of Thrones” strive to fulfill their own self-interests, there are several characters who focus their energies on doing what’s right for the people; those oppressed, less fortunate or otherwise needing help to be on equal footing.

Daenerys Targaryen, one of the main characters of the series, is woman who is trying to lay her claim to The Iron Throne; as she sees herself as the rightful heir to rule The Seven Kingdoms. But she’s not necessarily driven on her quest for power. On the contrary, she wants to rule to make lasting changes and impact the world for the better. In one quote Dany (as fans call her) starts naming the major families/houses in the series and what she sees as the way the current system of rule is working:

“Lannister, Baratheon, Stark, Tyrell, they’re all just spokes on a wheel. This one’s on top and that one’s on top and on and on it spins, crushing those on the ground. We’re not going to stop the wheel. I’m going to break the wheel.”

Dany does indeed break the wheel in many instances (such as ending the practice of slavery in one city, earning her the title “Breaker of Chains.”). She’s a woman with drive and focus, and wants to improve the world for others and leave it better than she found it.

What does this mean for us fighting for LGBTQ Equality? Find an area of focus and channel your energy there to benefit our community and our world. Want to improve the experience of LGBTQ youth? Look at helping The Zebra Coalition or the Orlando Youth Alliance. Want to promote diversity and business equality? Support the Metropolitan Business Association (MBA) or NGLCC. Want to fight for overall equality for our community? Participant in the efforts of Human Rights Campaign or Equality Florida. For us to break the wheel we need to find our own area of focus, which brings us to the next GoT sesson …

Lesson #2: Assemble Your Bannermen … The most successful people in “Game of Thrones” ally themselves with others. Whether it be because of long-forged allegiances (like the Houses of the North being loyal to the Stark family) or a recent need for a coalition (the mix of groups aligning themselves with Dany and her quest for The Iron Throne), each House has what they refer to as their bannermen, meaning anyone who swears loyalty to another.

Sansa Stark, another main character, shares a quote by her farther to her sister, Arya: “When the snows fall and the white winds blow, the lone wolf dies but the pack survives.”

What does this mean for us fighting for LGBTQ Equality? We are not lone wolves in this fight for equality: we need to cultivate our bannermen and bannerwomen. Whether that’s other members of our community (“LGB” folks should absolutely be advocating for our “T” brothers and sisters, especially in these challenging times), or our “A” (ally) straight friends who want equality for us. We are so much stronger as a group than we are as a single House. Support one another in our fight, even if the fight isn’t directly related to you (because tomorrow it may be). Which brings us to our final GoT Lesson …

Lesson #3: Be a Dragon … Once we’ve determined where our energy will go and rallied our bannermen, it’s time to fight. And fight for equality we shall.

One of my favorite characters in “Game of Thrones” is a woman named Lady Olenna Tyrell. She was the matriarch of one of the great Houses in the GoT world. Known as “The Queen of Thorns” she was extremely cunning, possessed a razor-sharp wit, and was very open to share her opinions of people, usually to their face. She aligned herself with Daenerys this season. During an exchange between the two women she shared the following advice: “The lords of Westeros are sheep. Are you a sheep? No. You’re a dragon. Be a dragon.” To Dany this is excellent advice from a woman who’s survived and thrived in the Westeros patriarchy.

What does this mean for us fighting for LGBTQ Equality? Be powerful. Be a leader. Harness your “you-ness” and the unique gifts each and every single one of us has to bring for the fight for equality. We all have something to offer our shared fight for equality. Identify your dragon strength and use it. Anything worth fighting for takes courage, strength, and patience. If we are to be equal and free from discrimination, treated equally and not as an “other,” keep rights we’ve worked so hard for, we need to be strong. Be prepared to bring your special self to the fight for our equality with the power and ferociousness of a dragon.

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