Cecil Clarke, mayor of the Cape Breton Regional Municipality, Nova Scotia's second largest municipality, has announced he's gay.

Clarke told Canadian broadcaster CBC News that he decided to speak out publicly about his sexuality after someone threatened to out him.

The 49-year-old Clarke, who is expected on Saturday to seek the leadership of the Nova Scotia Progressive Conservative Party, said that he did not want to announce his intentions “having people think that they are going to shame me, or hold something over me, or make it negative that, in this day and age, that being gay is somehow a bad thing.”

“If that's homophobia and the fact that I'm gay in political life, then shame on people that do that.”

“I'm in a committed relationship. I love the person I'm with. That man is very special to me. And I'm not prepared to go on my future journey alone, and I'm not going to do it ashamed or afraid or not proud of who I am as a person,” he added.

He also revealed that he was sexually assaulted when he was four and seven. “I thought I'd recovered very well from that and that I had the love of a family that was there for me and a community that supported me. This week, all of that hurt and pain came barreling back,” Clarke said.

According to CBC News, Clarke is a vocal supporter of LGBT rights and participated in Pride parades as mayor.