Boi is a term for Black transgender and/or non-binary individuals. It is similar to boy but is separate from the white/western gender binary. The name draws inspiration from African American Vernacular English (AAVE). This definition is exclusive to Black individuals.
Boi, as an identity or descriptor, originated independently in multiple LGBT+ subcultures in the mid-to-late 1990s. Most definitions can be broadly described as "masculinity which is not cisheteronormative." Some of these possible definitions include:
- A young, effeminate gay or bisexual man.
- A young, boyish lesbian. This may overlap with butch, but boi tends to have a slightly different connotation. Bois are typically described as young, sexually free, and less mature than butchs, though the exact difference may vary among different local cultures
- A young trans man, or a trans man who is in the early stages of transitioning.
- People who were AFAB who identify as male or with masculinity to some extent, but not fully.
- A genderqueer or non-binary identity, typically involving an androgynous gender presentation, or a "genderf*ck" ideology, though no exact definition exists.
Use of boi outside of LGBT+ spaces, and the first recorded usages of boi, seems to be strongly associated with Black men's culture. The term appears to have been adopted, possibly independently by multiple subcultures during the 1990s.
Boi, as a Black exclusive gender identity, was coined on June 6, 2015 by Tumblr user Vmerli. The flag was created by BoiQirl through a submission to ask-pride-color-schemes on February 2, 2017. The flag uses greenish blue, showing that it is similar to boy but it is still its own separate thing. The three stripes in the middle are intentionally different from the middle stripes of the qirl flag, showing that the two are not meant to be “opposites” of each other.