Your words warmed my heart Rachel. I cannot speak for all other nerds, but I feel your sentiments deeply. When I played CyberNations (a simple nation simulation which was basically all roleplay on an internet forum) it wasn’t so important who or what you were. It just mattered that you could role play well, and that you had a sense of humor. We had men, women, trans individuals, disabled persons (actually, our webmaster ‘bros’ was basically the only person who kept it running on the back end), the whole gamut. Nothing mattered more than glory for the Mushroom Kingdom (our…clan? Alliance is the term we used).
These trends carried into most of the games I’ve played. The more thinking that is involved in the gameplay, the more adult-like the users tended to be. So Call of Duty did not in fact bring many PHD’s to voice chat, but strategy games and socially driven games (TCGs like Magic come to mind) foster so much more maturity. And that’s where I think your kind words about nerds come most into play. Critics want to snipe gamers and nerds over YouTube comment sections, and the chat sections of League of Legends or Call of Duty. They have no interest in attending conventions with advance research in tow. They don’t want to ask the real enthusiasts about what makes them so passionate.
I wish more people had the gall to say it like you did. Sadly, my voice will not carry like yours does, because the dominant cultural narrative is that I as a male cannot lift your voice up higher, lest I be accused of sexism and as a chauvinist. Heaven forbid, that people who love Pokemon can come together regardless of how they were born, and celebrate the thing that they both love. The fakers out there don’t care about the real community. Like a person on the street, they look into the window and see a warm fire and ask why they aren’t there. Had they bothered to knock politely and ask kindly, virtually every home on the street would have thrown their arms wide open and welcomed them as family.