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Jeopardy! Champ Amy Schneider Testifies Against Ohio Anti-Trans Bill

Schneider returned to her native state to speak out against legislation that would ban gender-affirming health care for minors.

Amy Schneider, currently being seen in the Jeopardy! Tournament of Champions, testified Wednesday against anti-trans legislation in her native state of Ohio.

Schneider, the first trans contestant to qualify for the tournament and the most successful woman in the show’s history, spoke out against a bill that would ban gender-affirming health care for minors in the state. House Bill 454 would bar medical professionals from providing such care and subject them to disciplinary action for violations, and it would not allow public funds to be used for these procedures.

“I believe that this bill would have devastating consequences for Ohio’s children,” Schneider told the Ohio House Families, Aging and Human Services Committee. She said she believes people on both sides of the issue want to protect children, but “passing this bill would be a tragic mistake. Because far from protecting children, this bill would put some of them in grave danger and a danger that not all of them would survive.”

She said she could cite statistics about suicide among trans youth, but she chose to take a more personal approach. “My life is going great right now, like beyond my wildest dreams,” Schneider said, referring to her Jeopardy! success, recent marriage to Genevieve Davis, and other achievements. But if she still had all that and was told she couldn’t continue her hormone therapy, she might not want to go on living, she said.

Ever since she was born, she continued, it was like there was an alarm going off in her head, but after she began receiving gender-affirming care, that alarm silenced “and I knew peace and quiet for the first time.”

“To have that alarm turned back on now would be so devastating,” she said. “And that’s for me, a grown woman who has so much going for her. But there are kids in this state who don’t have so much going for them … and they have achieved that same peace.”

“Please don’t take that away from them,” Schneider said. “Please don’t force them to go back to that constant feeling of wrongness and danger.”

The full recording is available on the Dayton Daily News site, with Schneider's testimony beginning about 11 minutes in.

Schneider was among dozens who testified regarding the bill, both pro and con. Its sponsor, Republican Rep. Gary Click, said it no longer includes a ban on hormone treatment, as the original legislation did, but it does require minors to meet a variety of conditions before they can receive it, TV station WBNS reports. These include two years of counseling, screening for mental health conditions and evidence of physical or sexual assault, and an opinion from a second doctor.

“I feel we have made a number of strides to address [opponents’] concerns, but we have to listen to the kids who have regrets,” Click told the station. “We have to give children time to figure out who they are without mind-altering drugs like puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones.”

Actually, the “mind-altering” comment is deeply debatable, and reports of regret by those who have undergone gender confirmation are extremely rare. Click also said his major goal is to prevent minors from undergoing gender-affirming surgeries, but genital surgeries are almost never performed on minors, although a few undergo top surgery.

Alabama, Arkansas, and Oklahoma have all passed laws against gender-affirming care for minors. Alabama's makes providing it a felony, while the Arkansas law calls for professional discipline. Both are currently on hold due to lawsuits. The Oklahoma law would have withheld a major hospital's funding unless it ceased providing the care. Florida medical boards have moved to ban such care, while Texas officials contend that parents are committing child abuse if they allow their children to receive these procedures, a policy that's being contested in court.

Schneider, who now lives in Oakland, Calif., is a native of Dayton. A software engineer turned writer, she has become one of the most famous trans people in the nation thanks to her run on Jeopardy! The final round of the Tournament of Champions, prerecorded, is now airing, pitting Schneider against software developer Andrew He and college professor Sam Buttrey. Under a new format this year, the winner of the tournament will be the first one who wins three games in the finals. So far Schneider and He have each won one game.

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