NEW HYDE PARK, N.Y. - Byron Nicholas says he felt trapped in the wrong body. He was assigned female at birth but identified as male. For most of his life, Byron, who grew up in rural Mississippi, was afraid to reveal his true self to friends and family for fear of shame.
"Every day, I walked around living a double life," Byron, 43, told FOX 5 NY. "I was nervous. I was scared. I just knew, finally, I wanted to live my life as Byron Nicholas and to live my life as male like I wanted to at birth."
Three years ago, he started to transition and found Dr. David Rosenthal, who is now the medical director at the Center for Transgender Care at Northwell Health.
"Transitioning doesn't have a beginning, middle, and end," he said. "It's really a journey."
To mark June as Pride month, Dr. Rosenthal and Northwell Health officially opened Long Island's first center dedicated to transgender care, located in New Hyde Park. Byron and many other individuals like him can go there to receive comprehensive services.
"We've compiled, over the past four years, over 50 doctors from different specialties, including pediatrics, adolescent medicine, primary care, internal medicine, family practice," Rosenthal said, "as well as endocrinology, both pediatric and adult services, fertility, andrology, as well vocal and speech pathology."
The center has four exam rooms and eight offices so that specialists can provide individualized care tailored to each client's needs. Byron said the center is convenient and comfortable.
"I'm getting ready to actually have another surgery that's due," Nicholas said. "So instead of me having to drive all the way to the city, I can actually go here."
His advice for anyone else thinking about transitioning?
"Believe in yourself and you can do it," he said.