Todd Kincannon, former executive director of the South Carolina Republican Party, took to his Twitter account on Monday to express his opinion on transgender rights. After transgender activist Kat Haché replied to one of Kincannon's tweets on an entirely different topic, Kincannon launched into an anti-transgender tirade, making use of slurs, name calling, and his belief that transgender individuals should be locked away in concentration camps.
He later went on to claim that this was just an example of him trying to widen the "Overton window," which refers to the range of political ideas that the public will accept. In other words, by saying, "Lock transgender individuals in concentration camps," on might make the idea of simply denying transgender people equal recognition under the law seem more politically palatable.
It should be noted that the official 2012 platform of the South Carolina Republican Party consisted of language specifically targeting transgender individuals. Under the section "To Insure Domestic Tranquility," the organization formerly headed by Mr. Kincannon says this (emphasis mine):
We affirm the wonderful differences with which each gender is created and oppose efforts to blur or disregard the uniqueness of male and female genders. Furthermore, we affirm that one's gender is fixed at birth and that no citizen should be entitled to special treatment or accorded any special benefits not accorded to others of the same birth gender regardless of how they have altered their anatomy or appearance. We oppose federal, state, county, or municipal laws, regulations or ordinances that require a person to be granted special rights or protections based on his or her "perceived" gender identity.
By "special treatment" and "special benefits" the South Carolina GOP is referring to legal protection from employment and housing discrimination, difficulties that transgender individuals face when trying to change government documents to match their true identity, medical providers turning away patients due to their trans status, and denial of coverage by insurance companies on the basis of gender identity. Essentially, this platform goes out of its way to advocate for the removal of transgender individuals from federal hate crime protections, considering that a "special right."
The world may conclude that Todd Kincannon, a man who has done everything from mocking victims of Hurricane Katrina to laughing about the death of Trayvon Martin, isn't representative of his party. Kincannon has stated that he tends to say controversial things just to get a rise out of people. It should be pointed out that the outrageous views expressed by Kincannon are endorsed by the very state he used to represent within the RNC, with the only difference being on which side of the Overton window they stand.