Defeated by Jeopardy’s Final Question, but Not in Long Run!

Final question:  “The only nation in the world, whose name in English ends with an ‘h’ and is also one of the 10 most populous.” Brainiac Amy Schneider was defeated by this question after winning 40 straight games and winning $1,382,800. (Yes, you read that right!) Her lead was upset by a Chicago librarian Rhone Talsma, a big better who got the right answer “Bangladesh.”

As Amy told her interviewer Ander Finn from GLAAD, her strengths were geography, Shakespeare, and Broadway shows so why did she miss a geography question?  With a 95% rate of successful correct answers, how could she miss this and let her Jeopardy viewers down? Was she exhausted filming 5 shows in one day in the L.A. studio?

Where Did Amy Get Her Brains?

Night after night, her performances were stellar.  With a relaxed demeanor and big smile, she “ran” categories.  Amy, a former Dayton, Ohio native, credits her parents with imparting the love of learning for its own sake – knowledge for knowledge, not for end results.

Voted in the 8th grade as one who would be on Jeopardy, Amy, a former Engineer Manager in Oakland, prepared well for the game show.  She practiced with a ballpoint pen as a clicker, consulted when she missed a question, watched Old Jeopardy programs, and listened to Eminem’s song “Lose Yourself” to pump herself for the drive from Oakland to Los Angeles.

Amy is a confident, smart woman who surpassed Yale doctoral student Matt Amodio’s 38 wins and $1,319,800 earnings; Sport better’s “all in” James Holzhauer’s 32 wins.  She has yet to beat Ken Jennings’s 74 wins and $4,522,700.  However, she will be in Jeopardy’s “The Tournament of Champions” in November.

Her Biggest Success

But as Amy told Katie Couric and Good Morning America, it’s nice to make $120,000 in a day, but her greatest accomplishment was being herself on national television.  She felt a need to acknowledge on Jeopardy that she was transgender; otherwise, she said, it would be shameful and secretive.  Wearing the trans flag pin nightly, she wanted to show the viewers that trans people can do things successfully.

“One of the most meaningful aspects of becoming part of the game show’s history is representing the transgender community,” she boasted.  “I wanted people to see that trans people are not “monsters” and threatening. “

Born Thomas E. Schneider, Amy was married in her twenties but didn’t come out as transgender until she was thirty-seven and divorced. She is now engaged to Genevieve Davis.  They have plans to travel to Ireland and buy a house. But it’s not all “sweetness and light.”

Being trans, she has received some nasty comments on her Twitter account @Jeopardamy with its 138.2 K followers, always gets patted down by security at an airport, and has been held up at gunpoint in Oakland. (She is quick to point out that the crime rate against trans people is four times greater than attacks on non-trans people).

Amy plans on spending the next few years taking on a more public persona, perhaps writing a book.  She has been honored with a GLAAD Media Award. She was at the Grammys with her fiancée Sunday evening.

On Trans Visibility Day, March 31, 2022, she was invited to The White House.  She was in the Briefing Room in which she didn’t realize that she would be asked questions.  But with her big grin, she answered questions about the backlash of trans rights with so many LGBT bills in the U.S.  Amy felt confident that with all the recent support and greater awareness of the trans population, that those bills will become obsolete.  When asked about the medical restrictions for children to transition in states like Texas, she said the children will suffer. (The suicide rate is the highest among the Transgender population).

Whatever she attempts, Amy succeeds with her nice demeanor and brains.  She is an activist for the trans community, but does it without militance, “an iron fist in a velvet glove.”

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Wesley Cullen Davidson

Wesley Cullen Davidson is an award-winning freelance writer and journalist specializing in parenting as well as gay and lesbian content. For the past two years, Wesley has concentrated almost exclusively on the lesbian and gay community, specifically on advising straight parents of gay children on how to be better parents and raise happy, well-adjusted adults

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