Amy Schneider has dominated Jeopardy! since making her first appearance Nov. 17, during Transgender Awareness Week — and she will now make Jeopardy! history by becoming the first openly trans person to compete in the show’s Tournament of Champions.
Last night, Nov. 29, Schneider secured her ninth win in a row, bringing her winnings thus far to more than $300,000 and gaining a legion of fans in the process.
That winning streak also grants Schneider entry to Jeopardy!‘s annual Tournament of Champions, where she will compete against other Jeopardy! contestants who have secured the most wins during the prior year.
Speaking with San Francisco’s ABC7, Schneider said she was a longtime fan of the show and interviewed for a place on Jeopardy! three times before finally being selected.
Schneider added that it was a “great feeling” to secure her place in the Tournament of Champions.
“Once I got to episodes three and four, I knew the fifth one was in sight,” she said. “Once I got it, it was a great feeling, mostly because I was having fun and I didn’t want to stop. By qualifying for the fifth one, I knew I would come back.”
She noted the impact of her history-making winning streak, saying, “Seeing other trans women in a good spotlight inspired me to not be afraid of trying to compete in the thing I have always loved.”
She added: “Hopefully I can send a positive message to the nerdy trans girl who wants to be on the show too.”
Schneider expanded on the importance of transgender representation in an op-ed for Newsweek, where she noted the importance of seeing other out transgender people competing on Jeopardy!.
“It was inspirational for me to see transgender contestants on the show before I became a contestant and I hope that I am now doing that same thing for all the other trans Jeopardy! fans out there,” Schneider wrote.
“I hope I have given them the opportunity to see a trans person succeed. Until very recently trans people didn’t see themselves doing much out in the world, so to actually see something like this happen really opens your mind up to possibilities.”
During Jeopardy!‘s Thanksgiving episode, Schneider wore a transgender Pride flag pin. In a video shared on Jeopardy!‘s Twitter account, she noted that Thanksgiving is a “time for family, and sadly, it’s still true for a lot of trans people that that can be difficult for them, that they may have a difficult relationship with their families.”
“I’m fortunate enough to not have that issue myself,” she continued, “but I know it’s out there and so I just wanted to kind of send that message of support.”
Thank you for your thoughtful message, Amy. ❤️ pic.twitter.com/Xj02Jd8Nkm
— Jeopardy! (@Jeopardy) November 26, 2021
Schneider expanded on her reason for wearing the pin in a Twitter thread, saying she “didn’t want to make too much about being trans, at least in the context of the show. I am a trans woman, and I’m proud of that fact, but I’m a lot of other things, too!”
“The fact is, I don’t actually think about being trans all that often, and so when appearing on national television, I wanted to represent that part of my identity accurately: as important, but also relatively minor,” she said.
“But I also didn’t want it to seem as if it was some kind of shameful secret. While it’s gratifying to know that people didn’t necessarily know I was trans until they read about it, I do want people to know that aspect of me. I think being trans is really cool!”
Schneider noted the “disproportionately high number of trans people, especially trans youth and trans people of color” who are ostracized or cut off from their family, and “it felt like a good time to show my membership in, and support of, a community that might be having a hard time right now.”
She then urged her followers, if they were financially able, to “find a way to donate to an organization that helps LGBTQ people in need.”
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