A Republican congressman has compared proposals for gender reassignment surgery for American troops be funded by the Pentagon to the Ottoman practice of castrating slaves serving in the empire’s infantry units.
Rep. Steve King made the comments on the House floor yesterday during a debate over whether the Defense Department should continue to fund hormone therapy and surgeries for trans troops as it has done since Obama’s administration.
King argued that this should not be allowed and that the Pentagon should not be accepting troops who identify as trans into the military.
He argued that offering these treatments was the same as the Ottoman Empire castrating enslaved soldiers.
“What they did in order to keep them from reproducing was that they did reassignment surgery on those slaves they had captured, that they had put into their janissary troops,” said King.
He went on to say that offering the surgery would only entice people who wanted the surgery, not for the want of being in the Armed Forces.
“And that reassignment surgery was they took them from being a virile, reproductive male into being a eunuch.
“That’s a lesson of the military — the Ottoman military — from two, three, 400 years ago,” King said.
He added that offering the surgeries would not make the military a “better” place.
He added: “And today, we’re here thinking somehow we’re going to make the military better by letting people line up at their recruitment center who have planned that they want to do sexual reassignment surgery, know that it’s expensive, and believe ‘if I can just get into any branch of the United States services — to the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, the Marines; maybe become a Navy SEAL — and then submit to sexual reassignment surgery and then go from a man to a woman.’”
The comments have been met with backlash.
One Iowa executive director Daniel Hoffman-Zinnel said: “With these amendments, Rep. King is telling transgender Iowans, specifically transgender service members and veterans, that they are not welcome in the U.S. military and their service is not valued.”
King is known for his outrageous remarks, having previously said that evidence for gay parenting was as fake as research on global warming.
King has taken the torch from Michele Bachmann as one of the most homophobic lawmakers in Congress.
He recently tried to ban trans people from using the toilets in the US Capitol Building in a hostile finance bill amendment.
Previously, he offered to marry gay people to his lawnmower.