Justin Moore, a nurse, and Nick Grant, a city planner, are one of the most visible and popular young same-sex couples on social media today, with 500k followers on Instagram alone. And it’s easy to see why, with their good lucks, gym bodies and equality advocacy, they have become the “it” couple among millennials looking for role models to navigate the sometimes rocky shoals of dating, monogamy, and safe sex.
The dynamic duo talked to Queerty from the Pittsburgh home they share about staying in shape, the advantages of queer life, gender non-conformity, getting hit on and how to own your sexual health…
1. Tell us about your first date.
We started off as really good friends. We went to the same gym, and we often saw each other there and chatted. Eventually, it turned into something more. Our first date was actually breakfast at this wonderful spot in Pittsburgh. We chatted there for a couple of hours and then took a walk in a nearby park.
2. Your Instagram shows your “fur babies” throughout. What is it about gay men and their pets?
That’s a good question. We can’t speak for everyone else who dotes on their pets, but we definitely feel like they are our children in some way. Our two cats and our puppy all have personalities of their own, and we love them all for it.
3. A lot of guys have great Instagram pages, but the photos on yours are ridiculous – and your half million following is huge. Can you share some advice about creating a great account and following?
It’s about trying to stay as true to ourselves as possible. That’s easier said than done on Instagram. In many ways, we struggle with how to be authentic. It is very easy to gloss over issues with Instagram and, as everyone knows, no relationship is perfect. We have our own problems, but at the end of the day, we love each other. That’s real; that’s authentic. If you stick to what you do best, that shines through and people respond to that.
4. How do your families react to your risqué photos that your followers appreciate so much?
Our families have been so supportive of everything. Both of our mothers are on Instagram and follow us. They even comment a lot. Of course, their favorite pictures are not our most risqué and they’ve made some comments in passing as any mother would. Otherwise, our families are such great sources of love and support.
5. How do you navigate monogamy as a couple that gets hit on quite a bit on your page and, presumably, elsewhere?
We feel so incredibly thankful that we can hold hands so openly and proudly love each other. It also comes with the awareness that so many in our LGBTQIA+ family can't. Pride Month is a time to reflect on progress while also staying vigilant, especially for the most vulnerable in our community. As we gear up to attend the DNC LGBT Gala in NYC next week, we look forward to hearing even more stories of courage and resilience. Keep fighting, and happy Pride to you all. ? (?: @probablythis)
Relationships are tough. Especially now, there are so many options presented to us always. For us, two things have been very important: being completely open with each other and recognizing that there are so many ways to show love in a committed relationship. What works for us may not work for another couple, and that’s totally fine. We do get hit on a good deal – whether as a couple or individually – but we don’t mind that at all. Obviously, we love each other and find the other attractive, so it would be silly to be surprised or upset about one or the other getting hit on.
6. What do you like most about being gay?
The community into which you enter. RuPaul – one of our favorite celebrities – had a famous talk with Roxxxy Andrews about being able to choose our family. It may be cliché to say at this point, but it couldn’t be truer that the family you have in the LGBTQIA+ family is such a vibrant, uplifting one.
7. Agreed! When it comes to HIV, our community still has work to do when it comes to stigma and blame. There’s this totally false stereotype that people with HIV are “unclean” or somehow irresponsible. What’s going on here?
It just goes to show that there is still a lot of work left to do around sexual health awareness. Stereotypes about HIV+ individuals being “unclean” or irresponsible simply aren’t true, and these divisive, incorrect stereotypes of our LGBT brothers and sisters do nothing but collectively hold us back. We all need to do more to better understand the facts, and we also need to stand up to and educate those who seek to tear down HIV+ individuals. We get nowhere by being silent.
8. Do you have friends with HIV? They can live as long and as healthy lives as everyone else now–as long as they take care of themselves.
Yes, we do. We have one truly great, amazing friend who is HIV+ and he lives his life to the fullest. We’ve learned so much from him by hearing about his struggles and triumphs.
9. You guys are big advocates of owning your own sexual health and HIV testing.
A combination of things go into owning your sexual health. Part of it is being sex positive. Our community is so diverse and, in many ways, sexual liberation is a huge part of creating a community outside the confides of hetero-norms. Along with that, it’s so important to be knowledgeable about your sexual health. Regular screenings and HIV testing is a huge component of that. Sex is such a powerful, positive thing to share with another person. In doing that, it’s essential to know status.
10. But how do you deal with the issue personally?
Part of the stigmas and stereotypes that arise around HIV involves the misconception that sexual promiscuity and irresponsibility is a major cause. It’s not constructive for anyone to view sex like that. Sex should be enjoyed in whatever way a person sees fit. There are many ways a person can be exposed to HIV, and both of us work in health-related fields or clinically. It is possible we can be exposed in any number of ways. You don’t have to be gay, it doesn’t need to be through sex, etc. Part of owning our sexual health is knowing that being safe and getting tested regularly empowers us and protects us.
11. A lot of young people have started to question binary gender identity expression. As young gay guys, how do you guys think about gender fluidity?
Gender is not binary. When we talk about gender, we talk about it as a societal construct, not as the choice between a 0 or a 1 on a very outdated, short-sited questionnaire. Identity is not a choice between two options; it’s a spectrum of identity.
12. Tell us about meeting former Vice President Biden. What did you say to him?
It was such a surreal experience. His support of the LGBTQIA+ community is so evident, and he made everyone in the room feel so comfortable and welcome. We definitely had a Leslie Knope moment and almost couldn’t speak coherent sentences around him. We did make sure to thank him for all his dedication and hard work us all.
13. What’s your favorite queer destination in the world?
Every place has its own unique vibe and individual sense of community. While we do love the beach, we prefer some of the more off-the-beaten-path queer destinations. I [Justin] lived in Japan and South Korea, so I have a very soft spot in my heart for Tokyo’s de facto gay district, Shinjuku Ni-chome. Seoul’s Jongro-3 and Itaewon districts are such amazing queer destination experiences, especially due to the incredibly brave LGBTQIA+ men and women who are so openly proud in a rather conservative country.
14. You are gym bunnies. Do you work out together? Working out is easy. Continuing to work out is hard. What’s the key to staying motivated?
We try to work out together as much as possible. We both keep to a pretty strict schedule of six visits to the gym per week, so it definitely helps going together to keep each other motivated. Half of the battle is just getting up and going, so it always helps to have a friend keep you on task.
15. What else do you guys do to encourage each other to eat right, workout, and stay healthy?
It’s funny you ask because, while we do encourage each other to be healthy, we also encourage each other to have some fun and not always be so strict. We encourage each other to eat healthy by taking turns cooking, but we also bring home ice cream for each other every now and again. Being healthy isn’t always about making the right choices every waking minute. Sometimes it’s about letting loose, watching Netflix, and eating a whole pint of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.