by Jose Lima & David Cohen • photography by David Vance

From Navyman to ballet dancer to Revlon’s Global Advertising Director and more––one would think that David Leddick has done it all. According to the 80-year-old Leddick, the answer is no.

At the age of 65, Leddick began his fourth career as a writer and actor. Since then, he has published 21 books, and he has no intention of stopping. Leddick firmly believes living to the fullest during his “middle-age years.” With the publication of his latest book How to be Gay in the 21st Century, Leddick is doing just that.

“Being gay is just like being Swedish. It’s a little different, but in no important way.” Or that’s what Leddick thought in 2005, as he was beginning to write this book. After getting a grip on what it is like to be gay in the 21st century, everything changed..

Leddick had many reasons to wait until after the new century to begin this book. “When I wrote this book five years into this new century, I felt many gay men still interacted with the world in a very old fashioned way,” stated Leddick. “They just weren’t ready to see it, and it has taken a while for people to grasp how different things have become.”

In this book, Leddick uses humor to explore the 21st century’s mind set on how to get gay right. As the cover states, “There’s nothing wrong with being gay, but a lot of people do it wrong.” Leddick looks at old clichés and taboos that need to be discarded and declares his mantra: find out who you really are and have the courage to create your life.

Being born in the 1930s, Leddick has seen much evolution in the gay world–especially during the beginning of this century. “There is a growing feeling that life is about fulfillment, not about what the neighbors think,” says Leddick. “I think you change as you are fulfilled.”

The 70-page humorous how-to-be-gay guide features witty and wicked photos of Leddick at the beginning of each chapter. The photos were ttaken by photographer David Vance. The book is dedicated to one of Leddick’s heroes, Quentin Crisp, who left a huge impact on his life. Leddick wrote, “I can only hope he would like this book: He probably wouldn’t.”

Leddick’s career as an author has included numerous fiction and nonfiction books. He has a number of art books focusing on the male body including The Nude MaleNaked in the SunMale Nude, and Male Nude Now.

Inspired by the art world in the late 1920s to the early 1950s, Leddick wrote the biography Intimate Companions: A Triography of George Platt Lynes, Paul Cadmus, Lincoln Kirstein, and Their Circle (2000).

Working as a dancer at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City in the 1950s gave Leddick the inspiration for his second novel The Sex Squad (1998), a tale of the golden age of the ‘50s at the Opera’s ballet.

Leddick has also written and performed in six musicals, and appears regularly on the various Sout Florida stages.

Leddick’s new blog “David’s Gay Dish” has quickly become a magnet for straight women and hetrosexual couples. “My work is ringing bells for many people who are not gay because I encourage my readers to reject what others might want them to be,” says Leddick.
“I advise everyone to know who you are, what will make you happy, and then pursue it.”
Leddick’s next two books, scheduled for release in the summer of 2012, are Meaningless Hugs, Meaningless Kisses and Hitting 80/Doing 100.
On the topic of aging, Leddick promises to forge forward. “I think living in your 80s is just middle-age. You can keep growing, keep changing, keep loving, and enjoy adventure. You can’t chicken out just because you’re older–you just have to be brave, which has been necessary all your life. Perhaps it has taken all these years to see what you’d like to experience in life. Now you must do it.”
Published by White Lake Press, How to Be Gay in the 21st Century is available for purchase at www.davidleddick.net ($14.95). You also can visit his blog www.davidgaydish.blogspot.com.