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'Jeopardy!’ champ becomes 1st transgender contestant to make Tournament of Champions

Amy Schneider has put her name in the record books, in more than one way.
/ Source: TODAY

Current “Jeopardy!” champion Amy Schneider is using her voice to help other transgender people.

The engineering manager from Oakland won her 10th consecutive game on Tuesday night, giving her a total of $380,200, the eighth-highest total in regular season play. She will become the first transgender contestant to qualify for the Tournament of Champions.

She also wore a trans Pride flag pin on last week’s Thanksgiving episode to raise awareness.

“I didn’t want to make too much about being trans, at least in the context of the show,” she wrote in a Twitter thread last week. “I am a trans woman, and I’m proud of that fact, but I’m a lot of other things, too!”

“The fact is, I don’t actually think about being trans all that often, and so when appearing on national television, I wanted to represent that part of my identity accurately: as important, but also relatively minor. But I also didn’t want it to seem as if it was some kind of shameful secret. While it’s gratifying to know that people didn’t necessarily know I was trans until they read about it, I do want people to know that aspect of me. I think being trans is really cool!”

She also said the holiday marked the perfect time to put on the pin.

“And there’s a specific reason I thought Thanksgiving would be the right time to wear that pin," she wrote. "Thanksgiving is a holiday that is all about family. And that can be hard for anybody who has been ostracized 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 color.

"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.”

She also encouraged people to donate to causes that help the LGBTQ community.

Schneider is not the first transgender person to win on “Jeopardy!” Last year, Kate Freeman became champion, just a few days after contestant Cody Lawrence wore a bisexual Pride flag pin.

Schneider is the latest so-called “super champion” on the show this season, following in the footsteps of Matt Amodio and Jonathan Fisher.

“It’s just so surprising,” Schneider told about her run on the show. “You know, I’m not going to pretend that I didn’t think I could do good. But this has just been so much better than what I thought I would do.”

Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly referred to Schneider as an engineering student.