In the Puranas, we have heard the story of the Narasimha avatar. Hiranyakashipu had obtained a boon from Brahma that he should not be killed by either man or animal, at day or at night, above or below, inside or outside, by neither weapon nor tool. This boon rendered Hiranyakashipu invincible and immortal. He assumed he was God until his son Prahalad said that a greater power exists in the world, everywhere, even within the pillars of his palace.
Hiranyakashipu smote one such pillar and, from within the pillar, emerged a strange creature that was neither human nor animal. The creature caught hold of Hiranyakashipu and dragged him to the threshold, which was neither inside nor outside a dwelling, and at dusk, which is neither day nor night, picked him up and placed him on his thigh, which is neither above nor below, but, somewhere in the middle, and then tore his guts apart using his claws, which are neither weapons nor tools. Thus, the impossibility of a creature and a moment like this is achieved.
Hiranyakashipu had assumed that the world is made up of binaries, this and that, day and night, white and black, zero and one, but, Narasimha or Vishnu or Narayana had revealed to him that the world is not made up of binaries, that there is a whole world between and beyond the binaries. The story reveals the ancient understanding that the world cannot be reduced to binaries although, modern rational thinking tends to move that way because it is convenient. We forget that binaries are used to make our lives convenient but, they do not reflect the truth of nature.
The native tribes of America have the concept of two spirits. Two-spirit individuals were, what we call today, queer, and there were a whole variety of two-spirit individuals.
Devdutt Pattanaik is an Indian physician turned leadership consultant, mythologist, author and communicator whose works focus largely on the areas of myth, religion, mythology, and management.