A Maine Democrat who came out as gay last year has marshalled the state’s biggest Pride parade for the first time.

Mike Michaud, who revealed he was gay in November last year, has held political office in Maine since 1980.

Michaud, who currently sits in the US House of Representatives, is embroiled in a closely-fought race for the governorship in Maine, hoping to oust Republican incumbent Paul LePage.

Coming out last year, he said: “I am not ashamed of who I am”, adding that he wanted to counter any “whisper campaigns, insinuations and push-polls” about his personal life

He was joined in leading the Portland pride parade by Nicole Maines, a trans student who won a court battle over her right to use the women’s bathroom, and Sarah Holmes of the University of Southern Maine’s Center for Sexualities and Gender Diversity.

If elected as governor in November, Michaud would be the first openly gay governor in the US.

He told Associated Press that despite progress federally, many equality issues are dealt with at the state level, and it would be powerful for the gay rights community to have a voice at the table if he wins.

New York mayor Bill De Blasio marshalled the Brooklyn Pride Parade along with his wife Chirlane McCray last week.

Referencing his continuing boycott of the city’s St Patrick’s Day parade, he said: “When it comes to the question of parades, you will see Chirlane at this parade or me at this parade, but you will not see us at a parade that excludes members of the LGBT community.

“That is not what we do in New York City.”