Even if you’re just a passing Jeopardy! fan, you’ve likely heard about Amy Schneider. The engineering manager from California has been dominating the game show for weeks and lighting up Twitter with her post-game debriefs. And after 40 games and more than $1.3 million dollars in winnings, her reign as the holder of the second-longest consecutive winning streak on the show has finally ended. On Wednesday, she lost to Rhone Talsma, a librarian from Chicago, after being stumped by a Final Jeopardy question about Bangladesh.
Of her time on the show, Schneider— who is the winningest woman in the show’s history and one of only four people to ever rack up more than $1 million—told CNN: “It’s really been an honor. To know that I’m one of the most successful people at a game I’ve loved since I was a kid and to know that I’m a part of its history now, I just don’t know how to process it.”
She also wrote an essay about her time on the show for the Jeopardy! website and opened up about how her trans identity has “been the source of easily the biggest rewards I’ve gotten from this experience.”
“A few months ago, deep down, I simply did not believe that I could ever really be accepted for who I was. That is, I had come to believe (not without some difficulty) that at least some people accepted me: my family, my girlfriend, my inner circle of friends. But I always believed that most people would see me as trans people have so often been seen: a freak, a pervert, a man in a dress, a liar, mentally ill... But the overwhelming reaction has been of support and acceptance. People actually believe me when I say who I am. They don’t think there’s something wrong with me. And because of that, for maybe the first time in my life, I’m starting to think there really isn’t anything wrong with me either.”
Thankfully, we’re not done with Schneider: We’ll see her again in the show’s upcoming tournament of champions, where she’ll be the first openly trans person to take part. On Thursday morning’s episode of Good Morning America, she also took the moment to send a message to the trans community: ”If you’ve got a goal and you’re kind of beating your head against the wall with it trying to achieve it and it doesn’t feel like you’re getting anywhere, I think it’s definitely worth persisting. Again, specifically to trans people out there, anything you wanted to do before you can still keep chasing those same dreams.” All Hail Amy!!!
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