Amy Schneider on Jeopardy: ‘the overwhelming reaction has been of support’

Spoilers for previously aired episodes of Jeopardy
I know it’s ridiculous to put a spoiler warning as this news has been out for a few days. We don’t watch every Jeopardy episode in my house, but we go through phases of watching several in a row. I learned that Jeopardy champion Amy Schneider’s run had ended when I saw a headline on another site. I was mildly annoyed, but this was inevitable and we wouldn’t have caught up anyway.

Amy ended her run this week as the fifth-ranking highest earner on Jeopardy with the second longest running streak of 40 days. Host Ken Jennings remains number one in consecutive days on the show. (Here’s a link to a video with some highlights of her wins and here are highlights of her losing game.) Amy was a delight to watch on Jeopardy. Unlike other recent long-running champions, she has a chill personality. You get the impression that she’s wicked smart and isn’t particularly cutthroat.

Amy wrote an essay for Jeopardy about what her record means to her. She’s been watching the show since she was little and has dreamed of this, but more than that she was able to be herself as a transgender woman.

And while, as I’ve said, my trans identity is only one part of myself, it has also been the source of easily the biggest rewards I’ve gotten from this experience. The first one is personal: 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.

But the acceptance I’ve received isn’t due to any special qualities in myself (or at least, those qualities aren’t the most important reason for it). The acceptance I’ve received is the fruit of long, violent struggles – some famous, some forgotten – in which generations of trans people have risked their lives to secure their basic right to exist. Frances Thompson and Billy Tipton, Lili Elbe and Dora Richter, Sylvia Rivera and Felicia Elizondo, Laverne Cox and Gavin Grimm, and so many more who are lost to history, have devoted themselves to creating the conditions that exist today, where a trans Jeopardy! champion can be, for most people, uncritically accepted and celebrated as the person she is. And the most rewarding thing I’ve gained from my Jeopardy! run is the ability to finally say that I, too, have helped that cause. I haven’t thrown rocks at the police, or fought for my rights in the Supreme Court; all I’ve really done is chase a lifelong dream of appearing on Jeopardy!. But I knew that I was taking on a burden of representation, and I will always and forever be proud to say that I’ve done my little part to ease the path for future generations of trans people to live free, open, and happy lives, and that feeling is worth more to me than any financial gain could ever be.


I can’t imagine what it’s like to have people reject you like that. This got me choked up a little and I’m so happy for her. As an editor, I have to say that this was so well written and just the right length! I know that’s an aside and I shouldn’t be surprised considering how smart she is.

Amy told Extra that she plans to go to Ireland with her partner and go on a little shopping spree. They’re also going to use the money for a mortgage on a house.

Update: Our blogger friend Jessica from Go Fug Yourself competed against Amy! She was awesome and a strong contender. I learned from her episode how to better talk to people about my job actually. She said that “Amy is AMAZING, I’m so proud to have been part of her historic run.”

I’m looking forward to seeing Amy on the Tournament of Champions! She’s going to go up against Matt Amodio and she has only nice things to say about him.

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18 Responses to “Amy Schneider on Jeopardy: ‘the overwhelming reaction has been of support’”

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  1. mellie says:

    I loved watching her on Jeopardy, she was so quick on that signal too! And she was really gracious when she lost, what a kind soul.

    • gaga says:

      I agree, mellie! She was so much fun to watch and you just felt better about the world after each episode.

    • tealily says:

      She was gracious throughout! Most of those streak winners have irritated me. They seem smug, and like they’re gaming the system in one way or another. I watch hoping to see them lose. Amy, I truly looked forward to watching. And she wasn’t gaming anything. Yes, she’s quick enough on the buzzer, but she also really is just that smart. I was so sad to learn that she’d lost on a night that I had to work. Cheers, Amy! It’s been a pleasure!

    • atorontogal says:

      She was amazing to watch. Some of the stuff she knew just blew me away. I felt like I was kicked in the gut when she lost, even though I watched the episode and saw it coming.

  2. Becks1 says:

    Okay, that made me teary-eyed, especially this part:

    “I’m starting to think there really isn’t anything wrong with me either.” Go Amy!

    We watch Jeopardy, but I admit that I was getting bored by the end of her run. I definitely liked her (as opposed to Matt Amodio who got on my nerves) and she absolutely knew her “stuff,” but I like seeing different people and seeing more suspense with final jeopardy etc. But, I am looking forward to seeing her on the tournament of champions and I’m so glad that being on Jeopardy! was such a positive experience for her.

  3. FHMom says:

    It was a joy watching her play the game. My family was so sad when she lost. We are all looking forward to seeing Amy again.

  4. Mama says:

    I loved watching her. She was SO SMART!

    As an aside… I was pissed the other night when Entertainment Weekly tweeted out that she lost before I even started watching it. The whole “Gotta be first with news” is out of control when one can’t even watch Jeopardy and see the results for themselves.

    • Becks1 says:

      I’m on the east coat and it airs at 7 pm where I am, but we usually wait to watch it on DVR so we can fast forward past the commercials, and WaPo, NYT etc all reported IMMEDIATELY that she had lost. At like 7:31 pm (apparently all jeopardy news is embargoed until then, so they only had to wait until then to report it). I was ticked. I mean at least I had had the chance to watch it, but there’s a whole lot of the country that isn’t east coast based, you know?

  5. Jais says:

    Aw, I hope she and her partner have an amazing Ireland trip. And that essay got me tearing up. A reminder of why people fight.

  6. LarkspurLMM says:

    Her smile is great! Go AMY – you can do anything!

  7. Bettyrose says:

    I don’t think I have jeopardy on my streaming channels but I’ve been following the story. I watched Ken Jennings entire reign back in the day. I think she lives in the Bay Area, so she’ll need that money for a down payment. Good plans! I’m impressed honestly given those legitimate concerns that she went on jeopardy in the first place. It’s scary for anyone to put themselves in the path of potential public ridicule but especially so for a trans person, per her points.

  8. Tessa says:

    Before Jeopardy was even on yesterday, social media had talk about the CHicago librarian losing. How was story leaked?

  9. Charfromdarock says:

    I teared up reading her letter. “ People actually believe me when I say who I am.”

    I didn’t watch every night but my Dad did and he would tell me immediately after each game how Amy did. He loves her and wanted her to win the all time record!

  10. Valeri says:

    It’s weird, I actually missed her the other night, lol. I’ve never felt that way about a Jeopardy contestant before! She was an excellent player. She didn’t even come close to irritating me the way some of the other champions did, but I was beginning to feel that she should bow out gracefully and give someone else a chance, so her exit this week wasn’t too surprising. I think she must have felt the same way.

    Looking forward to seeing her on the next Tournament of Champions.

    EDIT: Of course, I misspelled my own name on THIS comment, of all comments, LOL.

  11. Valerie says:

    Also, that statement from her is lovely. I’ve seen a few comments about her on Twitter and have reported them. Ignorance, it would seem, has no expiration date. These people are misinformed and hateful, and I think some of them are going to be that way for the rest of their lives. I’m just happy that things are finally going well for her.

  12. Slippers4life says:

    What an absolute treasure!

  13. Emily says:

    I love Amy so much! The Downton Abbey podcast that she used to do (“Up Yours Downstairs”) is one of my all-time favourites.