October 11, 2020

Dear Friends and Family:

On this day, National Coming Out Day, I stand in solidarity with others taking this bold and important step in their lives.  For some this is their first time to publicly embrace who they are, for others a reaffirmation in support of those that may follow their example in the future.  For me, it is the former. 

During the past two years I have experienced the power of vulnerability and the love that may result, and some pain.  Vulnerability requires honesty and integrity, two attributes of human character I hold in high esteem.  I always felt I was in integrity with myself, when in fact for the majority of my life I was out of integrity, not being fully honest nor true with myself.   I never acted to deceive.  I eventually reached a point where I could no longer live with this disconnect in my character.  Society, culture, my chosen profession, all the excuse for keeping the authentic me repressed.

In February of 2019 I finally admitted to myself I am a gay man.  In the long run, for me to best serve myself and others I had to accept who I am and not how I thought society expected me to be.  This did not come without consequences.  However, I am continually surprised by the love and support that has also been the result.  I no longer suffer from the depression that I also hid.

My journey is still at its beginning with each day being a new crossroads.  The family I still deeply love remains strong and has a been described as all being from the same root ball, each growing in the direction it needs to blossom and flourish.  

At my core I am the same man I have always been; I have the same love for my family in my many roles in life…father, brother, friend…now I no longer live with fear, doubt and pain.  My vulnerability has already been an example for others to address challenges in their life.  While not my intention, I’m honored if expressing my truth can be an inspiration to others working through issues in their lives.

I am not seeking validation nor praise.  I am asking for your awareness of the differences and prejudices that still exist in our society and how we need to create an environment where everyone can be free to live without fear of ridicule or prejudice.


Dave Cotton