One Iowa Condemns Rep. Steve King’s Floor Speech Comparing Transgender Troops with Castrated Slaves

On Friday, July 14, Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) gave a speech on the House floor comparing transgender troops who receive gender reassignment surgery through insurance provided by the U.S. military for their service with castrated slaves from the Ottoman Empire.

“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,'” Rep. King said after implying that the Ottoman Empire stopped using castrated slaves in their military because they were no longer useful “fighting machines” after the procedure.

One Iowa Executive Director Daniel Hoffman-Zinnel issued a statement condemning Rep. King’s House floor speech.

“Rep. Steve King’s speech is absolutely unacceptable. Not only does he compare transgender troops to castrated slaves, but he insinuates that transgender people going into the service only do so to get free surgery. People join the military for a multitude of reasons, and the same goes for transgender individuals. To group all transgender people together and claim they all intend to somehow game the system is not only false, but contributes to harmful and untrue stereotypes transgender people face that contribute to harassment and violence.

“Rep. King has shown incredible disrespect for the transgender people who bravely serve our country with this horrific and dishonest speech. We urge him to apologize and educate himself about the realities of transgender service in the military, where transgender individuals are still prohibited from serving openly.”