Boi (plural: bois) is a term used within LGBT and butch and femme communities to refer to a person's sexual and/or gender identities. In lesbian communities, there is an increasing acceptance of variant gender expression, as well as allowing people to identify as a boi. The term may denote a number of possibilities that are not mutually exclusive:
- A "boi" is (generally) the younger person who prefers older partners, and is the "boi" in a "daddy and boi" dating, relationship, or sexual situation, where "boy" and "boi", respectively, are used to differentiate between someone who is underage, and someone who just identifies as the younger who wants or needs someone older. In this context, "boi" can be masculine or effeminate, or anywhere along that spectrum, and some males identify as a "boi" well beyond their 20s, and especially so long as they are involved with older men. Often, though not always, a "boi" prefers a submissive role.
- A younger person, possibly embodying stereotyped attributes towards casual sex and commitment in relationships, in contrast with the stereotype of the U-Haul lesbian. Bois may not identify as butch, regarding butches as playing a more powerful or responsible role – the "man of the house" – while a boi is still in a freer, younger phase.
- A submissive butch in the BDSM community, or a younger butch in the butch-femme community.
- A young trans man, or a trans man who is in the earlier stages of transitioning.
- A term of endearment for butches by femmes. It may also be used in the gay community to refer to a younger person – bisexual or gay – who may have effeminate characteristics. The term can also be used by anyone who wishes to distinguish from heterosexual or heteronormative identities.
Boi may also refer to someone assigned female at birth, who generally does not identify as, or only partially identifies as feminine, female, a girl, or a woman. Some bois are trans and/or intersex people. Some "bois" identify as one or more of these, but they almost always identify as lesbians, dykes, or queer. Many trans bois are also genderqueer/nonbinary (in itself a trans/transgender group), or might identify as cis persons or trans men, and yet practice genderfuck in which they do not fit in either masculine or feminine binary gender presentation. Bois may prefer a range of pronouns, including "he", "she", or non-binary and gender-neutral pronouns such as "they", "co", "hir", "sie", "zie", "xe", and "ey". The term has found increasing usage in the larger LGBT culture.
The term was coined to refer to black LGBTQ people, especially black gay individuals, later being used to describe gender. "Boi" has found popularity in the Latino and Asian communities as well.
The term was also used as a variant of the spelling of boy when one could not register a username (particularly on AOL in the 1990s when so many names were already registered) with the normal spelling boy as a part of the name. It was generally picked by younger gay males (commonly called twinks today).
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