Cody Lawrence is being praised for his groundbreaking "Jeopardy!" appearance on Tuesday night.
The 28-year-old editor, who lives in Sherman Oaks, California, wore a Bisexual Pride flag pin while competing on the game show. The flag features a design similar to the rainbow flag used by the larger LGBTQ community, but its stripes are pink, lavender and blue.
One fan tweeted, "I immediately recognized the pin and was so excited!! I told all my friends and they were too! I was watching with my parents and we were all rooting for you! It filled my heart with such joy to see you up there so proudly providing bisexual representation."
"Soon as my roomie pointed out your pin I got super excited! Yay for visibility!" commented another fan.
Lawrence told TODAY that he wore the pin in an effort to raise awareness for the bisexual community.
"The bi segment of the LGBTQ+ community isn't quite as visible as the rest of it, both within the community and outside of the community. Obviously, the LGBTQ+ community as a whole has difficulty with visibility, but I feel like we get lost in the shuffle. A lot."
Lawrence also wanted to demonstrate that despite dated stereotypes, LGBTQ folks "come in all shapes and sizes" — with some being "everyday" people who excel at trivia games. (Lawrence played well overall during his "Jeopardy!" stint and ultimately placed third.)
The positive response to his appearance on social media has Lawrence feeling "overjoyed and elated."
He was most touched by one young viewer who reached out to him directly. The young person, who uses they/their pronouns, told Lawrence their story in a personal message.
"They're ostensibly out to their parents. They're in a weird part of the country where people aren't accepted as much," said Lawrence. "And even though their parents are aware of their sexuality, they feel like they're not really acknowledged and they feel like (their sexuality) is not treated as valid in their household.
"They said they started crying when they saw my pin," he added. "That's huge."
In the future, Lawrence would like to see bisexual people better represented, starting within the LGBTQ community itself. "There's lots of merchandise and clothing during Pride Month and it's all rainbow flags," he said, noting that Bisexual Pride flags aren't as readily found.
"Sometimes we don't feel like we're part of that rainbow," he added.
As his "Jeopardy!" episode aired Tuesday, Lawrence took to Twitter to explain why he used his moment on national TV to represent the bisexual community.
"Hello all! I’m Cody (he/him). Tonight I’m on @Jeopardy alongside the late, great Alex Trebek. I took the opportunity to wear my #BiPride pin. We need more #BiVisibility in media," he wrote alongside a photo of him and Trebek.
"I’ve always been bisexual and first became aware of it when I was 10. It wasn’t until age 26 that I started expressing my truth openly. Everyone should be able to come out on their own terms but #BiErasure made that more difficult for me," he continued in a subsequent tweet.
"According to @GLAAD, #BiErasure is a pervasive problem in which the existence or legitimacy of bisexuality (either in general or in regard to an individual) is questioned or denied outright," he went on.
To combat "bi erasure," he explained, bisexual activists like Blair Amadeus Imani promote "the visibility, acknowledgment, and acceptance of bisexual people, bisexuality, bi history, bi culture, and the bi community."
Social media users watching the episode tweeted to thank Lawrence for his activism.
A viewer tweeted his support, writing, "Jeopardy contestant has bi pride flag on their lapel. Cody, if you're reading this, you're doing amazing."