Lake Orion, Michigan native Kate Freeman won on Jeopardy! Friday night, and wore a trans pride flag while doing so.
Freeman, who is a trans woman, won $5,559 in cash on the show. Freeman graduated from the University of Michigan and works as a financial analyst. It had been her dream to appear on Jeopardy since she was a child.
The Final Jeopardy category was Broadway Revivals, with the question being about West Side Story. None of the contestants got the Final Jeopardy question right, but Freeman ended the night with the most money.
Michigan news site MLive interviewed Freeman about the experience, where she said that appearing on the show was a dream come true.
“Competing was equal parts thrilling and nerve-wracking,” she said. “Getting that buzzer timing right is so much harder than it seems when watching at home. It really lived up to my childhood dreams of being on the show. I was honored to be able to meet Alex before his passing.”
She also told them that she was proud she could bring a little trans representation to the show. “I spent a lot of time learning about and reflecting on my gender identity in grad school, coming out as transgender and lesbian a few months before graduating. I’m proud to be out and I know representation is important.” Some believe she is the first out trans person to have competed, though there has been evidence of past contestants transitioning after competing.
Freeman returned to the show as the champion on Monday, but was defeated by Valerie Castelo, a career counselor from San Leandro, California.
Another contestant, 28 year old Cody Lawrence of Sherman Oaks, California, wore a bisexual pride pin while competing on the show last week. He performed well but ultimately placed third.
Beloved Jeopardy! host Alex Trebeck recently passed away from cancer, and these episodes were filmed before he stepped down as host.