A “Jeopardy!” fan is making history as the first transgender contestant to qualify for the show’s Tournament of Champions.
Amy Schneider, the reigning nine-time “Jeopardy!” champion with a total of $343,200 in the bank, began her winning streak earlier this month, after dethroning five-day champion Andrew He.
“I believed the previous champion was going to get Final Jeopardy! right and beat me,” Schneider said last Tuesday, after winning her fifth game in a row.
“So, I had those 30 seconds of being like, ‘Well this is fun, I had a great time,’ and then to realize that I won was such a great feeling,” she added.
Besides surprising Schneider, the win also qualified her for the show’s “Tournament of Champions,” an all-star competition that happens annually, featuring the best contestants from the previous year.
The Oakland, California-based engineering manager said that she has been a fan of the show for as long as she can remember.
Now Schneider, who was born in Dayton, Ohio, will forever be linked to the show as the first openly transgender contestant to secure a spot to battle out against fellow “Jeopardy!” superstars.
“I am from Ohio where the only trans people I thought of were drag queens or prostitutes,” she told the local Bay Area ABC station.
“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.
Last week, Schneider wore a trans flag on the episode that aired on Thanksgiving Day.
“I didn’t want to make too much about being trans, at least in the context of the show,” she later tweeted. “I am a trans woman, and I’m proud of that fact, but I’m a lot of other things, too!”
She added that while she doesn’t “think about being trans all that often,” she wanted to represent on national television “that part of my identity accurately: as important, but also relatively minor.