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Runner stories

Love always comes in first

Three images with colourful borders showing three different people
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This Valentine’s Day, Brooks is celebrating all love by highlighting LGBTQ+ stories from community members and allies.

How we’re celebrating love

Love Moves celebrates love and is rooted in our ongoing, 365-day-a-year commitment to the LGBTQ+ community. At Brooks, we believe runner identity is never limited to a shoe or trail type, and the same goes for runners who are seeking inspiration or connection in a community.

In support of inclusive storytelling and communities, Brooks met with creators who are connecting beyond the run through writing, digital art, photography, and travel. We are proud to feature the stories and different pathways creators take to share and move love in their communities.

Three inspired individuals are building stronger communities

How does love move you? We asked this question (and more) to three creators from across the U.S. to highlight the importance of LGBTQ+ love and communities. Check out their responses below and be sure to follow their work and advocacy on social media.

Peace and joy through movement

Shanée Brown (she/her), artist

Brooklyn, NY | @shaneebenjamin

Women looking into a mirror with heart and rainbow illustrations

Brooks: How do you move?

Shanée: Movements for me are moments of expressing joy. It’s dancing down the grocery store aisle while listening to my favourite song. It’s taking a calming walk through the park with my dog Chelsea. It’s running as fast as I can through the hills and breathing crisp air when I go on vacation in upstate New York. Moments of peace and joy for me are expressed through movement.

Brooks: In what ways do you create and share stories?

Shanée: I’m a digital artist and a painter. I share my story and my love of my community through my art.

Basket with artwork rolled up in it

Brooks: How can stories connect communities?

Shanée: When we sit down and listen to one another, we realize that we have a lot more in common than we’d assume. Sharing our experiences with each other shows that we’re not alone and that there is community and space for us to connect with others.

Brooks: How does your community move together, or share love?

Shanée: In Brooklyn, we get down! Our community is filled with spaces to dance, sing, perform, share community, and create love.

Representation matters

Steph Grant (she/they), photographer

Location TBD | @imsteph

Photographer Steph Grant sitting on a boardwalk in the forest

Brooks: How do you move?

Steph: As a photographer, I am constantly on the move with at least 50 pounds of camera gear in tow. Over the past decade, movement has taken me from sunset hikes in Yosemite and Hawaii to seaplanes in the Philippines or trekking up snowy mountains in Aspen & Jackson Hole. My career and clients keep me moving and I couldn’t be more grateful for that.

Brooks: In what ways do you create and share stories?

Steph: I’d say most people know me for being one of the first LGBTQ+ wedding photographers in the industry. In 2013, I had photographed the first lesbian Indian wedding in the U.S. which quickly became a viral love story.

Two side-by-side photos showing wedding photographer taking photos in nature

A year before marriage equality, I started marketing myself as an LGBTQ+ wedding photographer and in 2015, I founded the Promote Love Movement, a safe space for the LGBTQ+ community raised in religious environments to come together and share our stories. In 2018, I launched Steph Grant Studios, an LGBTQ+ owned media agency that focuses on working closely with brands to create and showcase diverse and inclusive stories authentically and intentionally.

Brooks: How can stories connect communities?

Steph: Sharing our stories can change minds and soften hearts. I truly believe that it saves lives. I have experienced this firsthand through my work as a photographer and during my own coming-out process.

Having LGBTQ+ representation in the media is life-changing. I plan to continue sharing those stories.

It’s so rewarding to have complete strangers say that they felt like they had a front row seat at the weddings that I have shot or that after seeing my images and stories they can no longer support their stance against the LGBTQ+ community."

Steph Grant Photographer

The messages that will always be tucked away in the cockles of my heart are from teens who live in a country where it is illegal saying that seeing images of queer couples gives them hope. Never in a million years would I think my work would travel around the world. I cherish that.

Brooks: How does your community move together, or share love?

Steph: There’s a fierce bond that connects the queer community. Our experiences, although unique to each of us, shape how we connect with others. Oftentimes, that can come with deep layers of trauma. Who we choose to surround ourselves with during that time can either make or break us. We are responsible for making moves to heal ourselves in our own time, protecting our peace along the way, and doing our part to support others in a healthy environment so that we can put more love into the world together.

Unwavering support

Noah Camp (he/him), 3D designer and illustrator

Philadelphia, PA | @noahcampdesign

Headshot of Noah Camp with a purple border and rainbow illustration

Brooks: How do you move?

Noah: I walk almost every day and I follow along with silly dance video games.

Brooks: In what ways do you create and share stories?

Noah: I share stories in whatever way I can. Reality is messy and dark, so I like to juxtapose that by creating a playful, fun, and vibrant reality I wish existed. When given the opportunity to share about the dark reality, I take on the challenge.

Brooks: How can stories connect communities?

Noah: We share our stories to connect. The only way to feel less alone is to share our vulnerabilities and experiences. That’s how someone can relate to us to let us know we aren’t alone. To make that connection, someone must initiate sharing their story.

Brooks: How does your community move together, or share love?

Noah: We are always looking to support our queer community. Need help after having gender-affirming surgery? We sign right up. Need a contractor? We try to hire a fellow queer person to do the job. Need a hug? We’re there.

The world runs on love.

The Love Moves Levitate StealthFit 5 was created in celebration of the LGBTQ+ community. To support the ongoing work for LGBTQ+ equality and inclusion, Brooks has partnered with the Human Rights Campaign. Celebrate all love along every path in the Levitate StealthFit 5, featuring a springy ride and max energy return.

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Brooks shoe designed in celebration of the LGBTQ+ community

What’s your story?

Brooks supports all who love and all who run — including you and your communities. One way we support the run community is sparking different conversations and helping runners connect. We would love to see the stories you are creating and learn how your community connects through the run, movement, or love. Tag us (@brooksrunning) on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter.