Eight-time Jeopardy! winner Amy Schneider has explained her moving gesture of trans solidarity.
Schneider made her Jeopardy! debut on November 17, in the middle of Transgender Awareness Week. Since then, she has won the game eight times, earning $295,200 (£222,000) from her stunning victories.
She’ll soon compete in the annual Tournament of Champions, which sees the 15 top contestants of the year go head-to-head. A contestant must clock five consecutive wins to qualify.
Schneider works as an engineering manager and is based in Oakland, California.
In an interview with Newsweek, Schneider revealed she had been trying to get on the gameshow for more than a decade. She was finally accepted by the show last year, but her appearance was delayed by the pandemic.
After her fifth win, Schneider penned an op-ed in the outlet to mark her becoming the first trans person to qualify for the Tournament of Champions.
As well as elaborating on her strategy and admitting her surprise at her winning streak, Schneider wrote about the importance of transgender representation on TV.
“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,” she 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.”
For the Thanksgiving episode of Jeopardy!, which aired on 25 November, Schneider wore a Trans Pride flag pin.
Explaining her decision to wear it, she wrote on Twitter: “Thanksgiving is a holiday that is all about family. And that can be hard for anybody who has been ostracised or otherwise cut off from their family, a group which, sadly, still includes a disproportionately high number of trans people, especially trans youth and trans people of colour.
“So, 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.”