By DeAnna Taylor Douglas, TGT Staff Writer
We recently sat down for a chat with actress Erica Burns from the Amazon web series, 7 Deadly Roommates. Erica is a transgender woman who plays the seven deadly sin, Vanity, a.k.a. Pride, a character who happens to be trans. It is becoming popular in the film and entertainment industry to feature transgender actors and actresses in roles that are not as much about them being transgender as it is about them being individuals just like everyone else, who just happen to be transgender. We at TGT call it TransNormalization.
In 7 Deadly Roommates, seven people, each of whom best represent one of the 7 deadly sins, are recruited by Satan to live in a house together. The show centers very much around these characters and how each of them represent their sins. The fact that some of the characters are LGBTQ identified is irrelevant. This is as it should be. There is the inclusion of marginalized sexual and gender identities without it being about the character’s identities. The characters just are who they are and that’s all there is to it. This is something that is completely possible to do and it happens here with 7 Deadly Roommates.
This is particularly the case with Erica Burns’ character, Vanity. While there is some mentioning of the character Envy being gay, there is not a single mentioning of Vanity being transgender. She just is, the audience knows, and it’s not the focal point in the . The story still goes on. This is innovation right here. It is the normalizing of being transgender. It’s how it should be.
There is the concern, however, that since 7 Deadly Roommates is a mockumentary comedy, it carries the risk of being exploitative, particularly towards the LGBTQ characters in the series. Rest assured, though, that while this may be a crass show, it is comedic in a way that is sensitive to all identities. Vanity is at times the butt of the joke, but it never has to do with her being transgender. It has to do with her being excessively prideful and self-absorbed. This is how comedy should be done. And it’s funny!