Amy Schneider ended her impressive run on Jeopardy earlier this week, cementing her place among the best-ever Jeopardy contestants in run that make her a legend and an icon in the trans community. But fans are not ready for her departure.
Schneider’s reign as queen of Jeopardy spanned a 40-game win streak and a 95% correct response record. She finally bowed out on an episode that aired this past Wednesday when a Final Jeopardy question — “The only nation in the world whose name in English ends with an ‘H’ and is also one of the 10 most populous” — stumped her. (Bangladesh was the answer.)
But a number of organizations and individuals took to Twitter to make clear how much they’ve appreciated her performance.
UCLA Lambda Alumni, an LGBTQ+ alumni group for the university, said it well and simply: “Thank you for being you.”
One fan, in response to Schneider revealing some hurtful things said to her on social media, told her that “Jeopardy isn’t the same without you,” noting that she’s “a lovely and special lady who showed grace and intelligence.”
Another added, reflecting on contestants competing after her departure, “The entire show my boyfriend and I kept saying “AMY WOULD KNOW THESE!”
But it’s wasn’t just Amy’s intelligence nor ability to answer every question with ease that made her so beloved. It was the stand she took and what she did for the trans community. As she wrote in an article on the Jeopardy site reflecting on what she learned in her time there,
“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.”
And as the days counted down to my episodes airing, I braced myself for the rejection I was sure would come. And then… it just didn’t. Sure, there have been a few isolated voices trying to bring me down, 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.”
As most always, Amy Schneider is correct. She is a gift to society, and here’s hoping this isn’t the last we’ll see of her.