Who are we, and what do we mean by ‘queer habitus’?

Rae Johnson and Diane Israel are friends and colleagues who have studied psychology, sociology, and the body for many years. We identify as queer, but often struggle with how to reconcile our queer sensibilities and feminist politics with our love of imagery, clothing, art and embodiment. We wonder how to show up as queer (to ourselves, our lovers, our friends and family, and our colleagues) while staying connected to the sensual aliveness that we work so hard to cultivate as somatic practitioners and educators. The more we talked about how we could support each other to push the edges of queerness, the more we realized that sensuality was the foundation of what we wanted to experience and convey. For us, queer meant being home in our bodies.

This blog is a collaborative venture to explore and share the strategies we develop for fully inhabiting our queer natures. We expect that the topics will range from clothing to nonverbal communication to aesthetics – whatever we’re inspired by or frustrated with in the moment. Please join us by posting a comment. We’d love to expand the conversation to those of you who recognize what we’re going through.

First, some definitions, with thanks to the nice folks at Wikipedia:

queer (kweer)
An umbrella term for sexual and gender minorities that are not heterosexual, or cisgender. Originally meaning strange or peculiar, queer developed a usage as a pejorative term for homosexual in the late 19th century. Beginning in the late 1980s, some political and social LGBT groups began to re-appropriate the word to establish community and assert a political identity, with it becoming the preferred term to describe some academic disciplines and gaining use as a descriptor of non-heterosexual identities. Queer may be used by those who reject traditional gender identities as a broader, less conformist, and deliberately ambiguous alternative to LGBT.

habitus (\ ha-bə-təs\)
From the Latin habitus (“habit”). Those aspects of culture that are anchored in the body or in the daily practices of individuals, groups, and societies. Habitus includes learned habits, bodily skills, styles, tastes, and other non-discursive forms of embodied practice or behavior. We use the term “queer habitus” to mean the everyday embodied practice of challenging cultural norms – through our gestures, grooming, clothing, food choices, domestic spaces, consumer choices, and many other domains.


2 thoughts on “Who are we, and what do we mean by ‘queer habitus’?

  1. Cheri Gurse June 26, 2015 / 11:06 pm

    “Found” QH today–plan to read all its posts.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Jean Stultz December 15, 2018 / 7:41 am

    Loving this insight into your path and the ease of reading non-academic writings. Thank you for sharing !


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