The East Bay can claim few recent Jeopardy! winners and multi-game champions, but it can now claim a second champion who is also an out and proud trans woman, Hannah Wilson.
Wilson, who just finished an eight-game streak on Monday, was described on the show as a data scientist from Chicago, but that's just where she's lived since college. The Chronicle's Datebook has a post-streak interview with her in which she talks about growing up in North Berkeley, attending the Bentley School in Lafayette and being on the Quiz Bowl team while there.
She and her parents, she said, used to watch Jeopardy! religiously at home.
"Honestly, my mom would often go to work in her office in the next room, but she could still hear the show," Wilson says. "So usually it was just me and my dad shouting out answers at the TV. And at some point I realized I was getting more answers right than my parents."
Wilson, 34, says she auditioned for the college tournament while in college, and she tried out for the show three times before getting on. But it sounds like her gender transition was fairly recent — and she cites the visibility and inspiration of Amy Schneider's lengthy, 40-game run of wins that ended in January 2022.
"I was still pretty early in my gender transition and seeing her was really inspiring," Wilson tells the Chronicle.
Wilson said she reached out to Schneider before auditioning this time, asking for advice, and Schneider posted this sweet tweet below after Wilson made her first appearance on May 3. welcoming her to the "Guild of Jeopardy Champion Trans Women."
Huge congratulations to Hannah Wilson!!! Welcome to the Guild of Jeopardy Champion Trans Women, one of us will be in contact shortly to explain the secret handshake and so forth— Amy Schneider (@Jeopardamy) May 4, 2023
Wilson adds, "This is such a strange time for trans people, even compared to a couple of years ago. If having me be on TV helps to normalize queer people in general, then that’s something that I want to keep doing."
Congrats, Ms. Wilson! Enjoy that $229,801 jackpot, and we look forward to seeing you on the Tournament of Champions.
Top photo: Tyler Golden/Jeopardy Productions, Inc.