A Jeopardy! contestant has made history after reportedly becoming the first openly transgender player to win an episode of the game show, according to Today.
On Friday, Kate Freeman, a financial specialist from Lake Orion, Michigan, appeared on the show wearing a transgender pride flag pin.
After winning during Friday night’s episode, Freeman again wore the pin for Monday’s episode, with viewers speculating that she is the first transgender contestant to ever win the game, according to Today.
“Mazel tov to Kate Freeman on winning Jeopardy! tonight,” writer Peter Fox tweeted following Freeman’s big win. “I’m assuming this victory makes her the first openly trans person to win a game.”
Jennifer Morrow, a previous Jeopardy! winner, revealed that there has been another transgender Jeopardy! champion in the show’s history, but that the contestant did not come out until after her time on the show.
“There is at least one other J! champ who has publicly spoken about being trans,” Morrow wrote. “A multi-game winner in the 1990s, although she used a different name and pronouns during her run.”
Jeopardy fans applauded Freeman for winning and for wearing the transgender pin.
Mazel tov to Kate Freeman on winning @Jeopardy tonight. I’m assuming this victory makes her the first openly trans person to win a game.
— Peter Fox (@thatpeterfox) December 12, 2020
“@Jeopardy has a contestant on with a Transgender Pride pin! Thank you for the awareness and inclusivity! (Can we start adding pronouns when the contestants are being introduced too?!?) #NormalizePronouns,” one person tweeted during Freeman’s run on the show.
Yaaaaay for Kate with the trans flag pin on Jeopardy! tonight!
— Jack Aponte (@jackaponte) December 12, 2020
Another said: “A trans woman won Jeopardy! tonight let’s go!!!”
There’s a trans woman contestant on Jeopardy! wearing a trans pride flag and I love her.
— Fibromarxalgia (@comedyunism) December 12, 2020
“OMG. I just saw a trans woman win Jeopardy! That just made my night. #Jeopardy,” someone else tweeted.
Freeman later told MLive that she is “proud to be out” and knows the importance of representation.
“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,” she said. “I’m proud to be out and I know representation is important.”
Freeman also opened up about the opportunity to meet late host Alex Trebek, as the episode was filmed before his passing.
Explaining that competing as a contestant “really lived up to my childhood dreams of being on the show,” Freeman said: “I was honored to be able to meet Alex before his passing.”
Freeman’s representation of the LGBT+ community came just days after contestant Cody Lawrence wore a bisexual flag pin on the game show.