Amy Schneider on Representing Her Community, Making Parents 'Feel Better' About Loved Ones' Futures

Amy Schneider on Representing Her Community, Making Parents 'Feel Better' About Loved Ones' Futures
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Amy Schneider's historic run on Jeopardy! has shined a positive spotlight on the transgender community.

Schneider, 42, is the most successful female contender in the show's history, becoming the first woman to surpass $1 million in earnings. She is also the first transgender contestant to compete on Jeopardy!'s Tournament of Champions.

The Ohio native tells PEOPLE that it's been "really great" to represent the trans community in such a major way.

"I had had feelings, kind of a little bit, of almost guilt at just sort of how easy it's generally been for me, the path of being a trans woman. It's easy because of the work and sacrifice that so many people before me made," Schneider says. "There was sort of a little bit of a feeling of guilt about just sort of reaping all the benefits of that without feeling like I was giving much back."

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Schneider adds, "To be making an impact now and to be giving something back without trying, with just doing something I was planning to do anyway, is really great."

Jeopardy!
Jeopardy!

Casey Durkin/Jeopardy Productions, Inc.

RELATED: Jeopardy! Champ Amy Schneider Would 'Certainly Consider' Hosting the Show After Winning Streak

The widespread support for Schneider has resulted in her receiving many supportive messages from viewers.

"I think a lot of the most meaningful, to me, have been actually from parents and grandparents of trans people, saying that it's made them feel better about the life that their loved ones are going to have," she says. "That makes me really happy."

Schneider was also praised by GLAAD's Director of Transgender Representation, Nick Adams. Following Schneider's loss on Wednesday, Adams issued a statement about her history-making run.

"Amy Schneider has given Jeopardy!'s nine million-plus nightly viewers a historic 40-game run full of masterful gameplay, while her media interviews and Twitter recaps of each game have given fans a glimpse into her life as a smart, charming transgender woman with a girlfriend and a rescue cat named Meep," Adams said. "Her visibility has been a bright spot, allowing millions of people to root for her success and start conversations about being transgender at a time when proposed bills in states like Arizona, Iowa, Indiana, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Amy's home state Ohio, are targeting transgender Americans for discrimination. Amy's achievement will be celebrated for years to come by Jeopardy! fans and LGBTQ people everywhere."

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Amy Schneider - Jeopardy! Contestant
Amy Schneider - Jeopardy! Contestant

Courtesy Jeopardy Productions, Inc. Amy Schneider

Schneider's success on the popular game show has proven her knowledge is quite vast. But she says there are subject areas that she's admittedly less versed in.

"I think music just because it's such a broad category and I listen to what I listen to and I don't really know much about what's outside of it," she says. "It's kind of hard to study just because there's so much of it. I would say too, and given the context, I don't know, but the fact is celebrities relationships and divorces and things like that is also something that I'm relatively weak at."

As for her area of expertise, Schneider says: "I think the best is geography."

"I've just loved maps ever since I was a kid and history," she adds. "I read a lot of history just for fun."

RELATED: Jeopardy! Hall of Fame: The Biggest Winners in the Game Show's History

After 40 consecutive games and accumulating a whopping $1,382,800 in winnings, Schneider's record-breaking streak came to an end during Wednesday's episode. Schneider has previously expressed interest in someday hosting the show, though she recognizes that the job wouldn't be without its challenges.

"I think it's long days, first of all. I think that's definitely a big part of it. And everybody's happiness in the crew and everybody there is dependent on you being smooth with your delivery and not having to go back and rerecord things because that just keeps everybody there later," she says.

"So having that sort of pressure of knowing that if you're having a rough day and keep stumbling over clues and things like that, that you're keeping everybody from their homes and families, I think would be a challenging mental pressure," she shares.

Schneider adds, "Otherwise, it's just, I think that just like I experienced on the show, that it's tiring just to be so focused for that period of time. The host has to be just as focused as the contestants and so yeah, it's definitely an endurance challenge."

Jeopardy! airs weekdays (check local listings).

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