Recently, gay rights have been a very hot topic, and some politicians say that they are un-natural and against Hindutva. But how? I mean I don't remember any Veda or religious book saying anything against a third gender. And even the Mahabharata has a transgender character (Shikhandi). Is there anything in the Vedas/Upanishads/Puranas for the acceptance or non-acceptance of third-gendered people?
The erotic sculptures on ancient Hindu temples at Khajuraho and Konarak, and the sacred texts in Sanskrit constitute irrefutable evidence that a whole range of sexual behavior was known to ancient Hindus. The tradition of representing same-sex desire in literature and art continued in medieval Hinduism.
Ayyappan is a Hindu deity who is believed to be an incarnation of Dharma Sasta, the offspring of Shiva and Vishnu (in the form of Mohini)
A number of 14th-century texts in Sanskrit and Bengali (including the Krittivasa Ramayana, a devotional text still extremely popular today) narrate how hero-king Bhagiratha, who brought the sacred river Ganga from heaven to earth, was miraculously born to and raised by two co-widows, who made love together with divine blessing. These texts explain that his name Bhagiratha comes from the word bhaga (vulva), because he was born of two vulvas.
Another sacred text, the fourth-century Kamasutra, emphasizes pleasure as the aim of intercourse. It categorizes men who desire other men as a “third nature.” The text goes on to subdivide such men into masculine and feminine types and describes their lives and typical occupations (including flower sellers, masseurs and hairdressers). The Kamasutra also includes a detailed description of oral sex between men and refers to long-term unions between male partners.
In Hindu mythology, ritual, and art, the power of androgyny or sexual ambiguity is a frequent and significant theme. Bahuchara Mata, the main object of hijra veneration, is a version of the Mother Goddess, for whose sake they undergo emasculation. In return for their emasculation the Goddess gives them the power to bless people with fertility, granting them an important religious role in births and marriages.
Iravan/Aravan is a patron god of well-known transgender communities called Ali (also Aravani in South India, and Hijra throughout South Asia).
On A temple festival of Aravan, Hijras and aravanis are ceremonially married to the idol of Aravan (and hence the name Aravani is a term of identity that many hijras adopt). Often hijras come to Koovagam with their lovers or ‘husbands’ and on the penultimate night of the festival, they all exerience a night of ‘marital bliss’, ( Source:newindianexpress.com)
So if Hinduism have so many example of Trans-reference and even Kamasutra and Khajuraho and Konarak also includes them and no refrense say its adharma or unantural then that claims of politician also proves wrong. Some claims also said that it British people who influenced the non-homosexuality movement. And as i already included from link text, Hijra's is said to be divine not a disease.
Essentially there is nothing against third-genderism or any other sexuality in Hinduism or you can also say Sanatan Dharma. In fact the basic belief in Hinduism is we are all living out our karmas on earth and accordingly we get bodies on earthly plain and in fact it is against the core principles of Hinduism to discriminate against third gender people. But the modern day Hindu right is completely ignorant about Hindu scriptures and on this issue are guided more by their own prejudices rather than by what is mentioned in the scriptures.
Ila (Sanskrit: इल) or Ilā (Sanskrit: इला) is an androgyne in Hindu mythology, known for their sex changes. As a man, he is known as Ila or Sudyumna and as a woman, is called Ilā. Ilā is considered the chief progenitor of the Lunar dynasty of Indian kings - also known as the Ailas ("descendants of Ilā").
While many versions of the tale exist, Ila is usually described as a daughter or son of Vaivasvata Manu and thus the sibling of Ikshvaku, the founder of the Solar Dynasty. In versions in which Ila is born female, she changes into a male form by divine grace soon after her birth. After mistakenly entering a sacred grove as an adult, Ila is either cursed to change his/her gender every month or cursed to become a woman. As a woman, Ilā married Budha, the god of the planet Mercury and the son of the lunar deity Chandra (Soma), and bore him a son called Pururavas, the father of the Lunar dynasty. After the birth of Pururavas, Ilā is transformed into a man again and fathered three sons.
In the Vedas, Ilā is praised as Idā (Sanskrit: इडा), goddess of speech, and described as mother of Pururavas.
Read more on this Wikipedia article: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ila_(Hinduism)
There are 11 (eleven) genders as per Hinduism. Vedagamic scriptures talk about the lifestyle a kid/teen has to live for the gender to revealed to that being.