Amy Schneider knows what it takes to walk away with $1.3 million on “Jeopardy!” — after all, the beloved trivia mastermind, trans activist and now memoirist did so during a 40-game winning streak on the popular game show this year. The Ohio native is the second longest-running contestant in the show’s history, trailing only Ken Jennings. What we’re saying is she knows a thing or two about winning.
Thinking of trying to follow in her footsteps? There’s at least one thing Schneider says you shouldn’t do — ban books.
Schneider, whose debut book “In the Form of a Question: The Joys and Rewards of a Curious Life” was released this week, was asked in a new interview with Pride Source what she’d tell those who might attempt to get her book banned from libraries.
“I would say that people that believe in banning books are unlikely to become ‘Jeopardy!’ champions,” Schneider said during what happens to be Banned Books Week, which celebrates the freedom to read and express ideas.
The crusade to prohibit certain books across the country has been relentless, as conservatives seek to erase stories from public libraries that spotlight and examine the full spectrum of LGBTQ+ life. Library staff in states across the U.S., including in Michigan, are facing an unprecedented number of attempts to ban books, according to the American Library Association. The ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom documented 1,269 demands to censor library books and resources in 2022, the highest number of attempted book bans since ALA began compiling data about censorship in libraries more than 20 years ago.
“I think that the mindset that people need to be shielded from information and protected from it, it harms yourself,” Schneider told Pride Source. “When you shield yourself from information, you make yourself less knowledgeable, and ultimately you're going to be less powerful if you know less.”
Schneider, who grew up in Ohio before moving to the Bay Area, where she currently lives with wife Genevieve, added that, “Certainly, I was raised in a family and community that did their darndest to keep me from learning anything about sex, but I figured it out.”