Batty boy

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In Jamaican English and creole, a batty boy (also spelled batty bwoy; other terms include batty man and chi chi bwoy/man) is a man considered to be gay, bisexual, or effeminate. The term is considered pejorative. In 2006 Time Magazine noted that Jamaica was likely to be the worst place in the Americas for LGBT people and one of the most homophobic places in the world.[1][2][3] Sex between men is punishable with up to ten years in jail.[1]

Certain Jamaican music, which features hostility to homosexuals, such as in a T.O.K. song "Chi Chi Man" which threatens to burn fire on gays and those in their company,[2] employs the term 'batty boy' to disparage LGBT people. 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."[4]

Post-World War II Jamaican immigrants brought the term 'batty boy' to the United Kingdom. Contemporary usage has been boosted partly by British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen, and his portrayal of the character Ali G. The term is also used in North America.

In the episode "Who I Am" of the Fox television show Empire, character Black Rambo calls Jamal Lyon 'batty boy' twice.

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  1. ^ a b Tim Padgett (April 12, 2006). "The Most Homophobic Place on Earth?". Time. Retrieved December 1, 2009. 
  2. ^ a b Janice Johnson (December 25, 2006). "A glimpse inside the lifestyle of a male prostitute". Jamaica Observer. Retrieved December 1, 2009. 
  3. ^ Diane Abbott (August 2, 2009). "Homophobia in Jamaica". Jamaica Observer. Retrieved December 1, 2009. 
  4. ^ "Boom Bye Bye - song lyrics ♪". Retrieved January 24, 2013.