By Mike LaCrosse

BARNSTABLE (CBS) – Barnstable High Senior Nick Bulman walked into his senior prom Friday night with a contagious smile. It’s been a long journey for him to get to this special night.

“Eighth grade me would have never thought I would be here,” Nick Bulman said. “Especially in a tux.”

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That’s because Nick was born Nicole. He said he always felt out of place with who he was until he came out last year as transgender.

“It just feels like a weight’s off my shoulders, like I can be more free and open with all those around me and I’m happy with myself,” said Bulman.

Nick Bulman at Barnstable High prom (WBZ-TV)

The Barnstable High community has supported Bulman’s transition. His field hockey team held a special pride game for him last fall and then last week came his nomination for prom king. As prom came to a close Friday night the votes were in and Bulman was crowned prom king.

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“I love the fact that Barnstable High School validated and acknowledged Nick in that way,” said Nick’s mom Jaime Gallagher.

Nick Bulman and his date arrive at the Barnstable prom (WBZ-TV)

“It’s been like a really nice surprise and kind of a great acknowledgement from my peers and my community,” said Nick Bulman.

Bulman said his true crowning moment though is being able to share his story by bringing awareness to the LGBTQ community.

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He’s hoping to inspire others to feel comfortable in their own skin.

Mike LaCrosse