Calling posts by custom taxonomy and not categories

I’m using the content-columns template for the homepage, and I’m displaying posts differently in each column. Currently, the featured content is category1, the left column is category2, the middle category3, the right category4 and the spotlight is category5. What I’d like to do is use a custom taxonomy (genre) to determine what gets displayed in each of these areas, so that I can use and display the categories for further classification.

Any ideas? Thanks!