MoFo’s New York Litigation partner Katie Viggiani recently hosted a discussion with Amy Schneider, the first transgender contestant to qualify for the Tournament of Champions, who collected the second highest number of consecutive wins in the show’s history.
Since the show, Amy has become a cultural icon and visible role model to many. Though her life has changed quite drastically from her pre-transition life working as a software engineer, Amy acknowledges that her entire experience on Jeopardy! was incredible. She has loved the show since childhood and never expected to make it as far as she did. Amy became comfortable wagering more aggressively as the show progressed, but one thing that did not change was Amy’s commitment to remaining true to herself. Witnessing transgender people occupy places and positions previously inaccessible inspired Amy, and her success in excelling on Jeopardy! opened her eyes to her own impact. Amy did not expect that her appearance on the show would help so many people, but she is glad that it did.
“Jeopardy! has taught me that so much of people’s resistance to transgender people isn’t because of morality or religion; it is because people find transgender people weird,” said Amy. “Jeopardy! is a mainstream gameshow, and because of that, people watched me week after week and were able to truly see me as a normal individual.”
Not only was Amy able to successfully express her true self in representing the transgender community as a smart, confident woman on a national stage, because of her experience, and the receptiveness of her time on the show, she now feels more optimistic about the future for the transgender community as a whole.
“The opposition faced by the transgender community is much weaker than it looks and is one-sided,” stated Amy. “My hope is that we can decrease the salience of gender going forward as there are very few occasions where gender actually matters.”
Amy’s 40-game winning streak earned her the ranking of the 11th highest earning contestant of all time across all American game shows. She will compete in the Jeopardy! Tournament of Champions, which will air in November 2022.
To learn more about MoFo’s commitment to LGBTQ+ equality, visit our Diversity page.