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Friday, August 18, 2017

Better Together

Written by  Brian George Hose

As you may or may not know, “Game of Thrones” is in the middle of its seventh season of shocking, amazing, and completely destroying the hearts and minds of the world. If you’re behind or not much of a fan, don’t worry – there won’t be any spoilers and I’m not going to try to convert you. That said, there are a few “GoT”-related things we need to discuss.

What I love about “Game of Thrones” and other hugely popular television series is that they have a way of bringing people together. The show has millions of fans, but not all of them have access to HBO. People find creative ways of solving this problem and their solutions almost always involve other people. Some people have standing dates with friends who have HBO access to watch the newest episode on nights when everyone is free; others host viewing parties and watch the episode live.

If you’ve never seen “Game of Thrones,” all I’ll say is that each episode covers a lot of ground, contains lots of important information, and there will almost always be a minor character from the cast of hundreds whose name you can’t remember; thus, it’s a good idea to have a viewing buddy with you to help you figure out what’s going on in relation to what’s already happened, what’s happening now, and what you think is going to happen. For me, the real fun starts after the episode ends and everyone begins speculating and piecing together the puzzle.

In this way, it’s a reminder that some things are better together, that we need other people to help us process what we’ve just experienced and to help us see the bigger picture that we may have missed. It’s a reminder that, however you watch the show, you’re participating with millions of other people around the world. That may not sound impressive, but if you consider that you now have something in common with that many people, you can’t help but feel that you’re part of something bigger than yourself, that there is something powerful in being part of such a large group.

I think it’s important to remember this as our community is again under attack. Ours is a vulnerable community; if we weren’t, our rights and issues wouldn’t be debated, they would be accepted. Unlike the families/houses in “Game of Thrones,” LGBTQ folks aren’t formally organized. We identify as part of the same community, but we are a rainbow of diverse beliefs, values, and backgrounds. We don’t have a union to represent us or speak for us, and sometimes we feel under-represented. Yes, we have leaders and allies, but sometimes they seem loosely connected or their focus is divided.

Vulnerability is an important concept when you look at where we are socially and politically. Some believe that once you’re thought to be vulnerable, you become vulnerable. Once vulnerable, your options are defending yourself or surrendering. That’s why when I think about how a TV show can bring us together, my mind wonders what we vulnerable people can do if we work together. Alone, we can’t change the world, but together, we can make a difference.

It’s likely that we will be a vulnerable community for the foreseeable future. It takes time for attitudes and opinions to adjust and we are currently in a state of transition. That said, if you prefer defending yourself to surrendering, there are some things you can do. Consider making a contribution to HRC or another LGBTQ organization that needs resources to represent us. Contributions are a form of representation, a way of saying that you believe in and support the cause. Individually it may not amount to much, but if everyone does a little bit the end result is something massive, something bigger than ourselves, a sure sign that we are better when we work together.

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