Steve King compares military pay for gender transition to Ottoman's castrating slaves

Steve King compares military pay for gender transition to Ottoman's castrating slaves
© Greg Nash

Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) in a Friday speech on the House floor compared proposals to have the Pentagon pay for gender transition to the Ottoman practice of castrating slaves serving in the empire's infantry units. 

King's comments came after the House rejected a measure intended to reverse an Obama-era requirement that the Defense Department pay for service members' hormone therapies and gender reassignment surgeries. 

King and Rep. Louie GohmertLouis (Louie) Buller GohmertJan. 6 organizers used burner phones to communicate with White House: report Gohmert launches official run for Texas attorney general GOP lawmaker fined ,000 for failing to complete House security screening MORE (R-Texas) railed against allowing transgender people in the military, arguing that it is a symptom of Western civilization's decline and that it hurts morale among U.S. service members. 


King then brought up the Ottoman Empire, arguing that their castration of enslaved soldiers was akin to the proposed hormone therapy and reassignment surgeries.

"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, who has a long history of making controversial comments.

"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.

"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.'"

King's comments immediately came under fire from critics on social media. 

The Iowa lawmaker has repeatedly warned of the decline of Western civilization, usually with statements related to immigration or terrorism.

He came under fire earlier this year after tweeting that the West "can't restore our civilization with somebody else's babies."

-This post was updated at 3:13 p.m.