Voice of Real Australia is a regular newsletter from ACM, which has journalists in every state and territory. Sign up here to get it by email, or here to forward it to a friend. Today's is written by ACM journalist Kayla Osborne. When I was in primary school I was picked on a lot because I was unashamedly OBSESSED with horses. In fact, the nickname listed for me in our year 6 yearbook was 'Horsegirl' which was not exactly the most flattering or affectionate nickname to have. Come high school - unlike many teen girls who turned to make up, celebs and Dolly magazine - my obsession turned to Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Pokemon and all things 'nerdy'. So I didn't exactly get any reprieve from the bullying. But it turns out, I was simply born a few years ahead of my time. Nerd culture has most certainly become mainstream in recent years. We have stores like Zing and Popcultcha dedicated to all things nerd. The Marvel Cinematic Universe has become a movie juggernaut with millions of dedicated fans. It's cool to be a 'dice goblin' and play Dungeons and Dragons on a weekly basis (I play in two different groups, two nights a week). It's a far cry from the days where simply mentioning Luke Skywalker would garner dirty looks from most of my classmates. Now, we have events like Supernova and Comicon where like-minded 'nerds' can gather in the thousands and celebrate their fandoms. Even Gen Z have gotten in on the action with many youngsters preferring YouTube to mainstream television. My little sister prefers to watch Streamers (people who play video games), unboxing and 'how to' vids over teen TV shows. But the thing I love most about the growth of this community is that it is so accepting. No matter what you look like, where you come from, your culture or creed - you can find like-minded folks from all walks of life. You get share in something that so many others are passionate about and perhaps even make life-long friendships. Sometimes it blows my mind that what once was considered 'weird' or 'geeky' is now just a part of the every day. I am not sure where the turning point started. Maybe we have Seth Cohen, Baby Yoda (Grogu) or Tony Stark to thank, or maybe it's just another version of societal swings and roundabouts? Either way I am grateful the 'nerd' community continues to grow because it means that my lightsaber chopsticks will be considered cool for many years to come. In case you are interested in filtering all the latest down to just one late afternoon read, why not sign up for The Informer newsletter?