In Jamaican culture, a batty boy (also spelled batty bwoy; other terms include batty man and chi chi boy/man) is a man considered to be gay, bisexual, or effeminate. The term is considered pejorative, as homosexuality is often condemned in contemporary Caribbean cultures, partially as a result of mainly conservative Christian and Rastafarian beliefs. Jamaican culture is seen as one of the most violent towards gay men in particular and, in 2006, Time noted it likely was the worst place in the Americas for LGBT people and one of the most homophobic places in the world. Sex between men is punishable with up to ten years' jail.
Certain Jamaican musicians whose music features hostility to homosexuals (such as in a T.O.K. song "Chi Chi Man" that threatens to burn fire on gays and those in their company), have used the term 'batty boy' to disparage LGBT people in their lyrics; one notorious song, "Boom Bye Bye", written by dancehall musician Buju Banton, advocates violence against batty boys, including shooting them in the head and setting them on fire: Boom bye bye, in a batty bwoy head/Rude boy nah promote no nasty man, dem hafi dead.
Post-World War II Jamaican immigrants brought the term 'batty boy' to the United Kingdom, with usage rising partly as a result of British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen, and his portrayal of the character Ali G. The term is also used in North America.
- Tim Padgett (April 12, 2006). "The Most Homophobic Place on Earth?". Time. time.com. Retrieved December 1, 2009.
- Janice Johnson (December 25, 2006). "A glimpse inside the lifestyle of a male prostitute". Jamaica Observer. www.jamaicaobserver.com. Retrieved December 1, 2009.
- Diane Abbott (August 2, 2009). "Homophobia in Jamaica". Jamaica Observer. www.jamaicaobserver.com. Retrieved December 1, 2009.
- "Boom Bye Bye - song lyrics ♪". www.lyricskeeper.com. Retrieved January 24, 2013.