“Jeopardy!” champ Amy Schneider is living the dream.
Schneider first attracted the attention of “Jeopardy!” audiences when she ended the five-game win streak of Andrew He in the middle of Trans Awareness Week.
Schneider, who is openly trans, took to Twitter immediately after her victory to answer fan questions. Many fans believed that she was the first trans winner on the show; however, Schneider credited that title to Kate Freeman, whose episode aired in December 2020.
Just after her first episode aired, Schneider tweeted, “FYI, I am not the first out trans person to appear on Jeopardy (a few friends have asked). There have been a handful before, including one, Kate Freeman, who was the first out trans champion on 12/16/20. My thanks to all of them for blazing the trail!”
However, Schneider did respond to questions asking what it was like being called an inspiration to others.
Schneider Is ‘So Grateful’ For A Chance To Compete On ‘Jeopardy!’
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Although the engineering manager from Oakland, California, isn’t the first openly trans player, she is the first to make it to the Tournament of Champions.
Schneider, who has won 10 consecutive games so far, is about to enter the “Jeopardy!” Hall of Fame.
Schneider told local San Francisco station ABC7 that “Seeing trans people anywhere in society that you haven’t seen them before is so valuable for the kids right now that are seeing it.”
She continued, “I’m so grateful that I am giving some nerdy little trans kid somewhere the realization that this is something that they could do too.”
She explained that she was also once a little kid admiring “Jeopardy!” champions from afar. She credited her mother, a college professor, for instilling her with a love of learning.
“My parents always had it on growing up,” she said. “There was never an extended period of time where I didn’t watch it.”
Schneider Expands Her Definition Of What It Means To Be Trans
In an interview with Jimmy McGuire from “Jeopardy!”’s Clue Crew, Schneider said that she has been watching the show for thirty-five years. Getting a chance to compete is like a dream come true, especially now that she can use her platform to provide visibility for other trans individuals.
She described how she grew up in a conservative family in Ohio and “had gotten kind of a distorted idea of what it meant to be trans.”
“I am from Ohio where the only trans people I thought of were drag queens or prostitutes,” she continued. “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 credited trans comedian Natasha Muse for helping to broaden her sense of self.
She said that “seeing her being smart and funny and cool and just a normal person with a normal life and kids and everything like that just showed me that it was something that I could possibly be, and that really made a difference for me.”