this is "nightline." >> tonight, real life in the gender trenches. we've all season the hollywood version. tonight inside the poignant journey of one person dying to make a change. amid painful politics. and the shadow of those controversial bathroom bills. >> the biggest risk is being killed. tonight, star-studded call for primary revolution. new york's washington square park. >> there are a lot of people here tonight. >> spilling over with students feeling the bern as candidates battle for new york cool. new questions about whether this campus war can count in the end. >> i'll be back, thank you! tonight for nba superstar kobe bryant, after 20 years and five championships, the laker legend taking his final shot. but first the "nightline 5."
powerful journey of one person taking the biggest step imaginable. here's abc's gloria riviera. >> i'm going to have you initial next to that -- >> reporter: reeves is about to go under the knife. >> doing a vasectomy -- >> reporter: it's called "top surgery." removing female breasts, reeves, a transgender man, was born with. his nerves kick in. >> it's getting real. >> people come in in their scrubs, it starts to get real. >> yeah. >> reporter: this is a day he's dreamed about. but he says it was almost unimaginable when he was growing up in north carolina. >> in north carolina, i definitely wasn't safe to transition. it was terrifying. like the consequences i'd have to face. >> no hate in my state! >> reporter: his home state has become the latest battleground for transgender and lgbt rights. last month house bill 2, the so-called bathroom bill, was signed into law. >> these rules are in place so
we can be safe! >> reporter: requiring transgender people to use public bathrooms matching their birth certificates, the governor saying it's meant to protect girls in bathrooms. >> it's basic common sense. it's etiquette of privacy that we've had for decades. >> reporter: the law sparking outrage and even prompting corporations to boycott. led by celebrities like rock legend bruce springsteen who cancelled a sold-out concert in north carolina because of the law. less bandmates speaking out about the decision. >> you're going to hurt people economically to have them do the right thing morally. >> we don't need bruce string seen to come tell us -- >> reporter: but there is plenty of support for the bill here and across the country. north carolina just the latest in a slew of states proposing similar measures. this political fight getting very personal. on this season's "i am cait" on e! >> yesterday in houston an ordinance protecting lgbt people was repealed. the lead slogan was, no men in
women's bathrooms. >> reporter: caitlyn jenner confronted by her transgender friends, including author and activist jennifer boylan, about her conservative views. >> there is a faction of people that uses fear of trans people, fear of gay people, to bring people to the polls -- >> it's not the republicans -- >> i don't feel like they're out to get us. every conservative out there believes in everybody's rights -- >> reporter: caitlyn's glamorous life on the show supported by friends, family and stylists. a far cry from the reality that most transgender people face. >> no one's giving them awards. no one's telling them they're the woman of the year. young transgender people are fighting for their lives. >> reporter: young people like reeves, born reva to a southern baptist family in north korea. from an early age he knew something didn't feel right. >> i don't know, probably at 7 or 8.
refusing to wear the church dresses. because, you know, the representation that came along with wearing a dress. >> reporter: but it wasn't until much later that he learned, on social media, what it meant to be transgender. >> you never heard that word. it was just like this ah-ha moment. >> what was that like? >> scary. it was so scary. >> when you realized, i'm transgender, your next thought almost about your parents was what? >> i can never tell them. >> reporter: for years he lived two lives. every time he left his house wrapping his chest in the car with ace bandages. a painful process. >> but that's like really terrible, like oh my god, it's awful having that wrapped around your chest all day. like i had like two or three on. >> reporter: believing he could never come out to his own mother, the two stopped talking, feeling misunderstood and scared he fled, ending up on the streets of washington, d.c., homeless. >> what was it like to come to d.c. and not have a place to live?
>> it was terrifying. no job. i only had $100 to my name. it was frightening. >> reporter: when we first met reeves he wasn't planning that life-changing surgery. he was just grateful to have a home here at casa ruby, an emergency shelter that welcomes young transgender men and women, found by ruby carato. >> i was blown that this stranger, someone who didn't even know me, was going to take me in. trust me on their property. give me a place to stay. and i was just like, wow. like i never experienced that kind of kindness before. >> reporter: ruby calls anyone who ends up here her children. >> excuse me? see this? you can have them all. >> hi, reeves. >> reporter: like reeves, everyone who lives here has run away from something. >> for at least six months, i've been seeking a change.
i've been seeking the other side. without here i wouldn't have nothing. >> you're in a safe place. everybody walks in the door with some trauma. i often have to repair their dignity. >> reporter: family rejection, discrimination, and violence. facts of life for many in this community. turns out that 1 in 5 transgender people end up homeless at one point in their lives. and according to one survey, close to half attempt suicide. >> we live in a system that's not made for us. our society isn't for transgender people. we're still having to fight to make space for us. yeah, there's still a lot lacking. >> reporter: reeves says the bathroom bill just passed in his home state will not only make his life harder but more dangerous. what do you make of these laws in north carolina? >> ha. they're [ bleep ]. people are going to get harmed. >> what's the biggest risk? >> the biggest risk is murder. being killed. >> reporter: reeves says many in
his north carolina family don't understand the reality he's had to face. he's just found out on facebook that some in his extended family even support the bill. >> that was heartbreaking. i'm not really close to her. but i know she loves me and it was just like -- it was thoughtless of her, really. >> reporter: after three months of support from casa ruby, we're with him as he gets ready to move into a home of his own. >> i'm a nervous wreck. i've had a lot of potential safe spaces but was always let down. >> bye, darling, congratulations. >> thank you. >> try to relax. >> reporter: within another few months, a new job, and a new partner by his side -- reeves is now finally able to take the biggest step so far. >> it's happening. >> yeah. it definitely is happening.
>> there you go. >> reporter: he's about to have a double mastectomy. helping match his physical body to who he is. >> all you do now is wait. >> yep. it's a waiting game. i suck at that. >> reporter: after two months of recovery, the reeves we meet now is walking with a newfound swagger. >> i feel like you're standing up straighter. is that my perception? >> yeah, i think that -- the binder would make me so tense. yeah. >> i feel like when i met you it was more like this. >> yeah. >> reporter: no longer needing that breast-flattening binder. >> happy to say good-bye to this? >> yeah. >> toss it out. >> gone. >> reporter: he's looking forward to the summer when he can show off. >> i'm just like, hey, handsome. that's good. going to have a good day? yeah, you are. >> reporter: despite his hardships, reeves knows he's been more fortunate than others. he's now mending his
relationship with his mother pack in north carolina. >> no hate in my state! >> reporter: she's told him she'll stand up against the new bathroom bill. >> they're like, come here, i'll go to the bathroom with you. i'm like, no, mom, you can't go into the bathroom with me, you'll end up arrested too. >> that's start for your mom. >> she's trying. it's cute. >> reporter: one important step in a long journey towards healing. for "nightline," i'm gloria riviera in washington, d.c. next, stars and students renewing the call for revolution tonight. the latest in the big apple primary brawl. and kobe bryant scoring big emotional points tonight as he takes his last shot. [engine revving] powerful. ♪ by design.
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now to the astonishing groundswell of hipster support in new york city for presidential candidate bernie sanders. momentum growing but can it be counted on in the end? here's abc's david wright. >> bernie, westebernie! >> reporter: in the heart of giv greenwich village -- >> there are a lot of people here tonight! >> reporter: bernie palooza. more than half a million college students live in new york city alone. tonight about 27,000 sanders supporters packed washington square park, one of sanders' biggest crowds yet. tonight's rally a star-studded affair. >> oh, man, it's amazing to be in washington square park.
>> bernie sanders! >> reporter: like a rock concert. a stark contrast to the scene up in the bronx where hillary clinton had her own rally tonight. >> wow, i am so happy to be back here. >> reporter: judging from these two events you'd be tempted to think this was a bernie sanders slam dunk. a big focus here, reaching out to millennials. >> you must like bernie sanders a lot. >> yeah. >> reporter: a big problem sanders faces here? can his supporters actually vote here? >> if you're a first-time voter you had to register a month ago. if you're changing parties you had to do it all the way back in october. while bernie sanders has a lot of supporters, a lot of them may not be able to vote in the new york primary. according to a new abc news and refinery 29 national poll of millennial women, bernie was the clear favorite at 35%, compared to 25% for hillary clinton. the top two republicans in
single digits. in new york at least two young republican voters won't be able to cast ballots for donald trump, trump's own children ivanka and eric missed the registration deadline. >> new york has one of the most onerous rules in terms of registration. it required us to register a long time ago. we didn't, we found out about it after the fact. >> reporter: ted cruz's campaign is running circles around the trump campaign in the delegate selection process. that's left trump banking even more on a big win here in new york. so far, the new york primary has been a roller coaster. the tabloids having a field day. >> are you ready to go on the jet ride, the one that goes all the way down? >> reporter: bernie sanders was on the coney island boardwalk under the world-famous cyclone. >> yeah, the one that goes, whoa! >> bernie, we love you! >> reporter: sanders stopped by nathan's for a foot long. reminiscing about all the hot dogs of his youth. >> i must have eaten five hot
dogs and i was sick as a dog. >> reporter: maybe so but he ate it with relish. >> enjoy! >> reporter: on "the view," sanders schooled his rival canned diets on how to eat a new york slice of pizza properly. >> are you ready? >> yes! fold it! >> reporter: hillary clinton has been chowing down too. or at least talking about it. in junior's she ordered the cheesecake but refused to consume it on camera. >> i learned early on not to eat in front of all of you. >> hey, everybody! >> reporter: in buffalo, she spoke fondly about all the western new york delicacies she enjoyed during her senate campaigns. >> i like the turkey too. >> reporter: the two democrats seem to be trying to out-new york each other, battling for new york's 247 delegates. sanders flaunting his brooklyn roots. >> thank you all for coming out to my old neighborhood!
>> reporter: taking my colleague cecilia vega into his childhood home. >> i peeked in. this was painted recently. when i lived here when i was a kid, all of this seemed much bigger. >> reporter: after sanders got called out by "the daily news" editorial board, talking about subway tokens -- >> how do you ride the subway today? >> what do you mean? >> how do you get on the subway? >> you get a token and go in. >> reporter: hillary clinton corrected him. >> i think it was my first term we changed to metro cards. >> reporter: she squeezed in with commuters riding the 4 train one stop to show her subway savvy. >> say hello to the next president. >> reporter: what might have been a pr triumph for this card-carrying new yorker was foiled by a fin nicky turnstile. apparently clinton isn't that familiar with metro cards. it took five swipes to get through. this weekend at a new york press dinner she jokingly chastised the mayor. >> the little terminal thing kept saying "please swipe again."
i mean -- you've got to fix that. >> reporter: on "saturday night live," the joke came entirely at her expense. >> it's been awhile. >> reporter: kate mckinnon's clinton had a word of advice for the bernie sanders voters. >> voting's for nerds. who cares, just sleep in. >> reporter: a lot of bernie's voters here may do just that. >> we have a system here in new york where young people who have not previously registered and want to register today just can't do it. >> reporter: because, they say, new york makes it too hard for them to get out and vote. i'm david wright for "nightline" in new york. up next, courting admiration. saying farewell to kobe's rare sizzling decades of talent. ya know, viagra helps guys with erectile dysfunction get and keep an erection. talk to your doctor about viagra.
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bryant, it's likely if he played against your favorite team, you hated the guy. but no fan of basketball could ever hate his game. >> for the final time, number 24 on the floor. >> where else but hollywood, a storybook send-off to one of the greatest nba players of all-time to ever toil, triumph, torment his rivals and fanses. 18-time all-star, five nba titles, third all-time leading scorer, two olympic gold medals. after an illustrious 20-year career he gave the fans what they wanted to see one more time tonight. >> desperate to get to the basket and score and he does. >> this was kobe bryant's night. testament to his talent and his marketability, nike produced this ad to mark the occasion. ♪ >> reporter: it's no type. bryant was hated in most nba arenas. he wasn't so much brash as he was ruthless. his killer instincts so revered
no one balked when he gave himself a nickname, the black mam mamba, one of the world's deadliest snakes. he came up with the name a year after one of the darkest episodes of his life. >> charges were filed against kobe bryant -- >> reporter: 2003, a 19-year-old woman accused him of sexual assault. the charges were eventually dropped and the civil suit settled out of court. he entered the nba as a brash 18-year-old straight out of high school, the son of a former nba player, mature beyond his years. unlike most teenaged phenoms kobe bryant lived up to the hype. he sat down recently with robin roberts -- >> everybody wants to know, why now? >> it was something that evolved the last two years. the achilles injury really frightened me. i was like, my career could be over now. it scared me. what am i going to do next? it was a slow three-year process of kind of evolving to get on where i am. >> reporter: kobe bryant played the game his way on his