Beloved “Jeopardy!” champion Amy Schneider stood at a White House lectern on Thursday to commemorate the Transgender Day of Visibility and spoke out against the the wave of transphobic bills advancing in states across the country.
“The more that people like me can be seen, the harder it is to sustain the myths that are kind of driving a lot of this hate and fear,” she told reporters when asked what she thought her presence at the White House might accomplish. She hopes Americans learn from seeing “a trans person out there that isn’t monstrous and isn’t threatening and is just a normal person like we all are.”
— CSPAN (@cspan) March 31, 2022
Schneider, whose 40-game “Jeopardy!” winning streak that ended in January was the second-longest in show history, added that anti-transgender bills moving through Republican-controlled state legislatures are “really scary” to her.
“Some of them in particular that are denying medical services to trans youth,” she said. “Those are lifesaving medical treatments, and ... these bills will cause the deaths of children. And that’s really sad to me, and it’s really frightening.”
Her remarks come a day after Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) signed a bill prohibiting minors from receiving gender-confirmation surgery. He also signed a bill banning transgender girls from playing on girls’ and women’s sports teams, following the lead of several other Republican governors in recent months.
This year may go down as the biggest year for anti-transgender legislation in history, LGBTQ advocates warn.
Schneider offered young people affected by those bills some encouragement and optimism.
“Hang in there,” she said. “I think that this backlash right now is temporary. I think that the country overall is on our side and getting more so every day, and I think it’s not going to be too long before these sorts of bills are seen as a thing of the past and no longer what we want to be as a country.”
The “Jeopardy!” legend is still figuring out how to use her newfound celebrity to advocate for transgender rights, she said, and declined to comment on whether President Joe Biden’s administration should take more action on the issue.
“Everything’s changed in the last few months, and I’m still playing it by ear,” she said. “I would like to do more [advocacy], but for right now, I’m just not sure what the right and effective way to do that would be.”
Schneider tweeted after her White House appearance that she wasn’t expecting to answer reporters’ questions but joked that she “just can’t help but perform” when she gets on stage.
So, um, this happened. They did *not* tell me I would be asked questions, but put me on a stage and I just can’t help but perform lol https://t.co/1te0VLKkPz
— Amy Schneider (@Jeopardamy) March 31, 2022
Her appearance on the game show’s “Tournament of Champions” is expected to air in November, she added.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.