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Boi is a term with multiple meanings that depend on context. In an LGBTQIA+ context, boi is usually defined as a young and masculine queer woman of color. It is thus often treated as a culture-specific identity.[1][2]

There are many other definitions for boi that are specific to the LGBTQIA+ community, such as:

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Etymology[]

Boi is an alternative spelling of the word "boy" that can be traced back to its usage as African American Vernacular English (AAVE) in Black communities in the 1990s. As an AAVE term, boi was pronounced as "boy-ee" or "bou-oy", but as an identity, it is often pronounced the same as "boy".[2]

The first major recorded use of boi as a non-LGBTQIA+ term was in 1992, and was attributed to a rapper named Big Boi. From there, boi was adopted by skateboard culture around the same time, specifically as a counterculture identity rather than an LGBTQIA+ identity.[2]

Shortly after that point, boi was used by the gay community to refer to a young and attractive gay man; at the same time, it was being used to refer to young masculine women. The online crowd-sourced Urban Dictionary had "young butch lesbian" as the dominant definition of boi from 2003 until 2016.[2] The latter definition is considered the most common definition for boi, in addition to being specifically for women of color, at least in an LGBTQIA+ context.[1][2]

Community[]

Distinction[]

Stud is another culture-specific identity that is specifically meant for Black masculine lesbians.[7][8][9] There is overlap here with boi, which is usually defined as a woman of color who is young, masculine, and queer in some fashion.[1][2] Thus, while both terms are culture-specific identities, boi can be seen as a slightly broader term than stud, at least in terms of who can use the label for themselves.

Controversy[]

Given that boi started as a term in Black communities and is now used as a label in queer communities, there have been many controversies over it being misappropriated as it expanded into mainstream usage. In particular, some racists have misused boi for anti-Black and otherwise bigoted messages online.[2]

References[]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "LGBTQ+ Terminology / Vocabulary Prime" on <nyp.org> (PDF). Published by NewYork-Presbyterian(Archived on 2022-03-21)
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 "Mad About the Boi" by Urquhart, Evan on Slate. Published 2020-10-21. (Archived on 2022-04-11)
  3. "Boi definition and meaning" on Collins English Dictionary(Archived on 2021-05-01)
  4. "Who's The Fairest Twink Of Them All?" (original link down) by Crain, Chris on San Francisco Bay Times. Published 2007-11-22. (Archived on 2012-03-29)
  5. Gay L.A.: A History of Sexual Outlaws, Power Politics, and Lipstick Lesbians by Faderman, Lillian and Timmons, Stuart. Published 2006 by Basic Books. (web archive)
  6. "Boi or grrl? Pop culture redefining gender" on NBC News. Published 2005-10-01. (Archived on 2021-01-22)
  7. "Origin of The Stud: Black Queer History" on Shades of Noir. Published 2020-11-05. (Archived on 2022-03-29)
  8. "Stud Lesbians, Explained" by Chesson, Kris on Autostraddle. Published 2021-08-18. (Archived on 2021-12-09)
  9. "Dear White Lesbians: You Are Not Studs" by Prager, Sarah on Tagg Magazine. Published 2020-03-10. (Archived on 2022-05-27)
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