- January 2022
There was a lot to like about Amy Schneider's long run on "Jeopardy."
She was openly transgender. She became the winningest woman in the history of the show. She confessed she founded her high school debate club largely so she could put it on her college applications.
"The best part for me has been being on TV as my true self," Schneider said in an interview. "Expressing myself, representing the entire community of trans people and . . . just being a smart, confident woman doing something super normal like being on 'Jeopardy!'"
I agree that the game show itself is super normal, super mainstream. But anyone who goes on it as a contestant and is able to, first, think, and second, convince her lips to say "Who is Benazir Bhutto?" isn't super normal. She's just super.
Washington Post columnist Monica Hesse wrote that Schneider "shared her whole self, and this was her tremendous, generous gift to America. She would not allow the country to think of her merely as a transgender woman or merely as a "Jeopardy!" champion. Instead, with little fanfare, she made sure the two identities were linked. To the viewing public of a country that still regularly dehumanizes transgender individuals — via humiliating bathroom bills, via harmful stereotypes, via disgraceful statistics related to homelessness, poverty, sexual assault — Schneider was relentlessly human."
So relentlessly human she has a cat named Meep.
My favorite part of the Schneider story might be that she was dethroned by a gay man. Two members of the queer community matched wits on America's televisions, and the whole scene was . . . super normal.
Again, if you consider normal a person who, under all that pressure, comes up with the only country in the world whose name, in English, ends with an "H." Rhone Talsma correctly answered Bangladesh.
I would've answered Swedenish.
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