Fred Karger, the gay Republican presidential candidate, says he wants to “send a message” to LGBT young people.
Speaking to the Los Angeles Times, Karger, a former political advisor, described how he felt too ashamed to come out for years.
He said: “I want to send the message to gay younger people and older people and everyone in between that you can do anything you want in life, and don’t feel bad about yourself and don’t feel you have to live your life the way I did.”
The 61-year-old, who has spent most of his life in the closet, has worked as a campaign advisor and election strategist for a number of high-profile figures.
Throughout his campaign, he has told audiences the story of his uncle, who was gay and killed himself at the age of 42. Karger says that the first time he visited a gay bar, his uncle walked in, prompting Karger to flee before he was spotted.
While he has virtually no chance of winning the 2012 election, he is the only openly gay candidate in the race, having come out in 2006.