“Jeopardy!” champion Amy Schneider opened up about her personal journey and survival as a transgender woman while testifying Wednesday against a proposed bill in Ohio that would prohibit children from receiving gender-affirming care, which she said would boil down to life or death for some kids.
“I truly believe that all of us have the same goal: To keep Ohio’s children safe and healthy. This bill would put some of them in grave danger that not all of them would survive,” said the Ohio native, who has been using her newly found fame from the game show to speak out for trans rights. Her activism comes amid a rise in anti-transgender legislative bills across the country, like Ohio’s HB 454.
“I really believe that I’m telling you the simple truth,” she said. “The lives of children are on the line with the fate of this bill.”
Schneider, who capped a 40-game “Jeopardy!” winning streak in January, said that for as long as she can remember, she was tormented by what she described as a constant “alarm going off inside my head.” It didn’t stop until she came out as transgender and began receiving hormonal therapy five years ago.
“For the first time in my life, that alarm went silent, and I knew peace and quiet for the first time,” she said. “The only way I was able to live with it before was because I thought there was no other way to live. But to have gotten that peace, and to have that alarm turned on right now, would be so devastating.”
She stressed that forcing children to stop the gender-affirming care they are already receiving by passing the bill would be just as devastating for them, if not harder, due to the amplified challenges youth face daily.
“Please don’t force them to go back to that constant feeling of wrongness and danger,” she said. “I don’t know that I could go on living. I hope that I would, and I’d hope that I’d find a way to, but I really believe that I may not survive.”
Her position was similarly backed by Nick Lashutka, president of the Ohio Children’s Hospital Association. He shared his hospitals’ concerns that banning puberty blockers, hormones, and gender-reassignment surgical procedures would be extremely detrimental.
“These youth existed before we established our gender clinics, and they will exist if our clinics are forced to close,” he testified.
One of the bill’s proposals would allow medical providers to be sued or face professional discipline for providing gender transition procedures.
“Anything that would put barriers for those kids, or those families… we have serious, serious concerns about,” he said. “Physicians take an oath: Do no harm.”