Thursday, September 29, 2005

"Boi", Oh Boy!

How and when did the term “boi” generate? Who thought this word up? Is there a secret society of homosexuals someplace who sit around and create new identities within the gay culture to ever further segregate the population? I don’t remember getting a memo that said anything like, “From here on out, we will be dropping the ‘y’ from ‘boy’ and be replacing it with an ‘i’ because it’s just more fabulous this way.”

I can only assume (since I am still looking for that memo) that the term “boi” refers to a boyish gay guy and that the word “boy” is now solely to be used as a possessive term, as in “Here comes Master Bulldog and his Boy.” So I guess, chronologically speaking, that it is possible for someone to be a boy, and then become a “boi”, and then grow into being a Boy. Can one be a “boi” and a Boy at the same time? Can one be a “boi” and a Master at the same time? Could a “boi” be his own “Boy”?

To exacerbate this problem, the term “boi” also, apparently, describes a biological female with a male presentation. So now there are also girl “bois” living among us too. Are there also female Masters? Or are these women, or should I say WOMYN, called something else? Sweet Agnes, people, this gets confusing! Even Thom Lynch, the director of the San Francisco Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Community Center, says, "The language thing is tricky. I feel sorry for straight people."

People and labels – it’s a love/hate relationship. People hate being categorized as something they don’t identify with, so they end up creating a whole new class for themselves. For example, in the lesbian community some women of color prefer the word "stud" to "butch," meaning a masculine-identified lesbian. Which makes a woman who falls between a stud and a femme -- a more "feminine" lesbian -- a "stem." “Yo, I’m taking my stem camping this weekend.” In Lesbo speak, that means something (but to me it sounds more like a euphemism for wanking).

I guess it all just boils down to respect. People are just going to self-identify. With the universe of gender and sexual identities expanding, a gay youth culture emerging, acceptance of gays rising and label loyalty falling, the gay lexicon has exploded with scores of new words and blended phrases that delineate every conceivable stop on the identity spectrum -- at least for this week.

But to whomever is sending out the memos, I have recently moved and I need a “Change of Address” form.