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Amy Schneider rode a wave of wins on the quiz show Jeopardy! to break records, bust stereotypes and earn fans, who created the hashtag #teamAmy in support.
Schneider, 42, from Oakland, California, just ended her 40-game winning streak, earning more than $1.3 million. She now holds the record for the second-longest winning streak in the show’s history and is its winningest woman ever.
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She’s also a transgender woman whose success has raised awareness and made her a role model for the LGBTQ community. But Schneider, who comments frequently on her Jeopardy! performance on Twitter, says being trans wasn’t the focus of her performance on the show.
“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,” Schneider posted on Twitter. However, she’s well aware of her impact.
Around Thanksgiving, Schneider wore a transgender flag pin on her sweater, to show solidarity with her community at a particularly tough time of year. She chose to wear the pin, she noted on Twitter, because many young transgender people face hostile environments when returning home for Thanksgiving.
Just after her winning streak came to an end, Schneider expressed gratitude for the support she received. “Going into my first taping, one of the things I told myself was ‘Just be yourself, and then whatever happens as a result, you’ll be ok with it,’ ” she wrote on Twitter. “I’m so glad that seems to have come across for everyone!”