Amy Schneider makes Jeopardy history as first out transgender contestant to qualify for Tournament of Champions
A new kind of history was just made on Jeopardy.
On Tuesday night's show, contestant Amy Schneider became the first openly transgender contestant to qualify for the show's special "Tournament of Champions." The history-making moment came after Schneider won five consecutive games and claimed the title of 10-day champion with a total of $380,200.
While Schneider is not the first trans contestant to become a champion on the show, she's the first contestant to make it to the highest level of the competition. While speaking to Jeopardy's Jimmy McGuire in a Winner's Circle interview following the show, she revealed that as a child growing up in the Midwest in a conservative family, a trans comedian named Natasha Muse — who she became aware of when she moved to San Fransisco — inspired her to embrace her trans identity and pursue competing in the show she's been a lifelong fan of.
"I had gotten kind of a distorted idea of what it meant to be trans, and so 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," she told McGuire.
Although she's been a fan of the quiz show for years, Schneider, who works as an engineering manager in California, still found herself in awe of how her Jeopardy run has gone.
"I'm not going to pretend I didn't think I could do good, but this has just been so much better than I thought I would do," she explained.
In October, the previous long-reigning Jeopardy champ Matt Amodio lost his winning streak to Jonathan Fisher after 38 games. Amodio remains second on the all-time consecutive winner's list behind Ken Jennings.
Watch the video interview with Schneider above.
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