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The Toni Wilkerson Fund

« When Logic Gets Flushed Down The Toilet | Main | Emotional Hangover »

Saturday, May 07, 2016


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This is so beautifully written (as always). How incredibly brave of Toby and what an inspiration he will be for others. We can only hope that other parents will follow the wonderful example of you and Rudy have set! <3

Our lives are following parallel paths. Amazing how similar right down to the artwork on Toby's walls! I feel like I could have written your words. Hugs and prayers as we each move forward with our amazing kids!

So many thoughts, since I'm at work, trying not to cry. What a beautiful strong family you have built. Congratulations on the courage and love you have all shown. Let us know what we can get him - they have baby and wedding showers, how about a transition event similar - we can buy all kinds of goofy transition gifts?!? Toby, just know people you have never met are here supporting your journey, remember that in your moments of doubt if they come... You're loved.

Just dropping in to say how cool it is to see such a rockstar parent, family, child working hard to live life to the fullest. As a gay-identified cis guy who happens to have a lot of interest in identity, intersectionality and health in my work with college students, it's SOOOO cool to see allies who "get it" and are vocal about it. Thanks from NYC and keep it up :)

A beautiful video from a beautiful child. I have missed your posts over this past year, but I knew you would have a good reason. And I was right. I have loved watching your family all these years and I look forward to many more happy years of hearing about your wonderful daughters and son. Best of luck Toby!

Just came across this on Facebook, and was transfixed. As I read your story all the way through, I felt stronger, more validated, and as a parent Of eight adult children, one of whom is gay, I felt proud. Thank you for your beautiful, raw, open-ended, thought provoking, incredibly concise words of hope and of caution. You are an inpiration, as I'm sure Toby Carson has been. Continue to write and to share your story, as it is a must-read for all of us!!!!

Toby, wishing you the best as you move forward on your transition. You have the unconditional love and support of your family. Always remember that, and when times get tough always rely on their love and strength. They have make you into this incredibly strong, brave, courageous young man.You are a role model for young kids that are struggling with their gender.Thank you for sharing your family story, Linda. You and your family also are role model for parents with transgender kids.

Linda and Rudy - I've said it many times over the years, but again, you've raised three fine children. Take pride not only in their lives and accomplishments, but in yours as parents.

Toby - I wish you nothing but the best in your life journey. You are amazingly talented. You are courageous and kind and loving - an inspiration to so many. Do you!

Love to all the Sharps!

Thank you for sharing your story. You have a wonderful family with so much heart. Truly Inspiring!

Wow! Thank you Linda for sharing your story. It is incredibly brave of you, your family and Toby. It is nobody's concern how people choose to live their lives and whoever they are, they are first and foremost PEOPLE with the same beating heart. No one has the right to judge. Toby is very lucky to have a family who loves and supports him in every way a child should be. I consider myself a very open person but your story has chased away any remote thought that might possibly have been lurking deep down in my subconsciousness. I read your story with awe at your family's love and at your family's honesty. Made me realize that I really am the open person I hoped. Thank you for sharing your story and inviting us into your lives. Toby, you have a larger family rooting for you so go be the best you can!

Tears are flowing. Thank you so much for sharing a part of this journey with us. Toby-your video was amazing-thank you for being brave and sharing your story with others so that they know that they are not alone. I wish Toby and the rest of the Sharp family all of the best as you take the next steps of this journey together as a strong team!

You walk the talk, Linda. Can you imagine, though, if Toby found it hard to tell you and Rudy, practically the most supportive parents on earth, what other people go through. It's a tough, long road and
I wish Toby all the best on his journey.

Go Toby Go proud of you! So many memories of the roles you played...I was always worried you would think I was "type casting" you ! Live and learn even for this Drama Teacher ! You make me smile and what a great way to come out through your art !
Love you as always ...Major

Just wanted to thank you all for your support of Toby and our family, I can't tell you how much it means!

What a beautiful post, Linda! I've been crying since about the halfway point - crying for joy that Toby was able to come out to his loving family, and crying for the hardships he has to go through just to be himself. But I know that together, you Sharps are one of the strongest families I know, and that together, you will all get through the tough times just as you always have.

Toby, I have enjoyed following your life through your Mom's eyes for years, and now I am excited to watch the next step of your life through your eyes! Your video is amazing, and I hope that it helps others make the decision to be their true selves as well.

Love to you, Linda, and I hope to see you all in the future! Hugs to your whole family - you are all awesome!

Thank you - and yes, I am a transparent TRANS PARENT. :)

So beautiful. Thank you for sharing and for being willing to be so transparent. There is love in this world. Some of us are committed to sharing it. Stand strong and know you are loved.

OMG Yup, I'm crying with the rest of the people who love you and your family. I'm crying because no person or family should have to feel that something within him/herself which is the essence of who s/he is--something that hurts no one else in the world-- should have to be a burden. Toby, I am sorry that we live in a time and place where you have to even think twice about this. I apologize on behalf of humanity. I have "watched" you grow for years now, and I see this as nothing more than a part of your growth. I wish for you all the best in the world and the strength to always allow yourself to be who and what the Universe made you. Hugs, Sweetheart.

Linda and Toby (and the rest of the Sharp Family)...Thank you for trusting us enough to share this very personal part of your lives. Toby, I always knew you'd do amazing things - now I can add one more item to that list of things - I believe you will be an important advocate in the lives of so many people. The video is beautiful and real and brought me to tears.

I've been on the sidelines watching you grow, feeling pride when Linda praised your accomplishments and angry at the injustices you've endured. This is no different. I applaud your bravery and cry for the depression, fear and uncertainty you had to live with.

I will continue to remain on the sidelines, cheering your accomplishments and rallying around you when things get tough - nothing has changed in that regard as far as I'm concerned.

Be who you are. Everything else is just noise.

I know most of y'all haven't heard much from me in the last year, for I have been hiding in the shadows, circling the figurative wagons, as it were. I've been battling overwhelming health issues, a custody battle for my child, and on the positive side, basking in the love and support of my new and wonderful husband. But I have been watching and reading and trying to keep up with all of the people in this great big world that I consider friends. I love all of you so much. But today, I especially feel a surge of love and pride for your son, Linda. I have watched him grow up, been proud of his acheivements and accomplishments. I'm so happy for you, Toby, for being true to who you are and being so brave! You will be a force to be reckoned with in this world! Your entire family has been a source of happiness, support and love to me, and I wish to be that to you, Toby, Linda, Rudy, Culley, and Kendall. I can't wait to see the wonderful things to come! All my love to all of you.

I already commented on Toby's page, but I wish to add some heartfelt words here as well. Bravo, my friend. This is an extraordinary post. I'm sending you a giant squeeze of love. Share it with your boy. on! Linda, Rudy, Kendall, Culley, Kim & grandparents...thank you for allowing Toby to be who he needs to be without judgement. Toby...thank you for mustering the courage to let those who love you support you through this transition. I didn't think I could love you all more, but somehow, tonight, I do!

Rudy sums it all up just right, "happy and alive". At the end of the day, that is all a parent should want or desire for their child. That's all I will ever want for Rowan, and I support and love your family all the way here in Florida! I hope one day our paths will cross as I would be honored to introduce Rowan to Toby. ❤❤❤

I watched your video on YouTube, and OMG, you freaking ROCK, Toby!!!!! Through DGMS, so many of us have been allowed the privilege of watching you grow into the amazing person you are today. Wishing you all the best as you move forward on this journey; I hope only the best for you!

oh, and I TOTALLY expected you to have a southern accent! ;-)

Welcome home Toby, you handsome, funny, compassionate Toby. Your place in this world is now clear and even though there will be valleys and peaks, now your spirit will be at peace and the path clear for you to conquer and embrace life without fear!! I will continue to faithfully cheer you on!!!
PS: Chris would had been your biggest supporter!
"We are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frighten us. We ask ourselves, "who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?' Actually, who are you not to be?
Much love,

Toby, you are loved beyond measure by your parents and those of us in your DGMS family who have had the privilege of watching you grow over the years through your Mom's eyes and words. Please know that I will be with you as you continue to live, love and laugh your way to your beautiful future. With much love always to you and your wonderful family,
~Amy in CT

Uncle Toby has a great ring to it. The Sharp family is awesome and I never doubted their unwavering strength and love. Seriously, an amazing family. I can't wait to watch Toby BE Toby. Woo Hoo.

Toby Carson,

I'm so very in awe of and proud of your strength and determination to be true to your TRUE Self. I'm not at all surprised that your family has stepped up to the plate and did right by you. You are amazing and so talented. With this weight lifted you will soar! I hope to have the pleasure of meeting you, shaking your hand and then wrapping you in a fierce hug.

Thank you for being YOU


Having spent the past day and a half in Provincetown, MA for the wedding of my dear friend to her partner, being completely immersed in what I can only describe as what our whole world should be - a beautiful rainbow of humans (and their dogs!), I am so honored to welcome Toby into my life and into my heart. May your path to your authentic self be filled with people giving you love, support, compassion and intelligence. F@ck the rest. They don't deserve to bask in your beautiful light. From Liz in CT - I and my family love and support you. Always.

Kerry - thank you. You are so much more than someone I just trade bad air travel jokes with. Thank you for letting me confide from 30,000 feet that night. One day, our paths will cross on a layover, and God help the terminal it happens in.

Congratulations and good luck to the entire Sharp family during this new and exciting time. All the best to Toby as he starts his new journey. Thank you for being so brave as to share. May someone else be inspired by your words, and more people learn tolerance through your mom's. Be happy and be well! (PS - the video rocks.)

<3 Much love to you and the family. How lucky Toby is to have you all in his life. If only all of those who are "different" in some way had the love and support in their lives that your kids do.

First of all, this is a beautiful piece. Second, you all and have the deepest respect for you all. You son is courageous and I wish I had that at his age. He gives me hope for the future. Your family gives me hope. To the entire Sharp clan, I hold you all in a virtual embrace and am so proud of you all. Toby is a very special person...which of course is only natural as he comes from a very special family.

Okay. I broke into a huge grin. As scary as all of this can be, having a family like yours is like a big, fluffy posturepedic mattress--no matter how hard you fall, or how hard you jump up and down on it, it still is THE softest place to fall! I'm happy that Toby is embracing his truth and will forever be happy!Adding this to my growing list of awesome people to admire. Just this week, my friends (2 mommies) adopted the sweetest twins, and about a month ago, my husband's cousin,who was Katie,is now Elliot. He said that Katie was just ill-fitting. I love them all! So excited for your son's journey and will be cheering all the while!

I feel honored and privileged to be part of your extended family and community, that you feel safe and confident enough to share your life with us without fear of judgement. Rock on Toby!

Thank you for sharing your incredible family. I cried reading this, and am here to offer full support and props to all. There is so much love and pride in your words. Your children are all super stars!

I love you too! <3 As I said before, I'm just at the end of the phone line if you need an ear or a shoulder.

Thank you for being there all this time. :) I love you.

Congratulations Toby! (PS - LOVE the name! You definitely suit the name!) I'm so proud of what you are doing :) From what your mother has told me about your strength and leadership, this is another area of your life you are going to rock as you advocate for your transition and rights, and I know that you will be a role model for others.

Linda, I am so happy that your fears about your parents did not come about the way you worried. I remember hoping that you would be surprised about their reaction, and I'm so glad that they are loving and supporting Toby for who he is.

Of all of the parents that Toby could have chosen when he was born, it's wonderful that he chose you and Rudy. Have I told you that you rock, and I want to be like you when I grow up?

I know that the road ahead won't be all sunshine and roses, but with the strength of your family bond, and the support team that Toby has behind him, it will work out in the best way possible.

Sending all of you love and strength, and continued grace in all of your journeys.

Thank you, Dede - and if you think it may help her, please share this with your coworker.

I just had a conversation with a former coworker whose son is transgender. She didn't want to go against her husband (who wanted to disown their son) but she didn't want to turn her back on her child. She asked me what I would do. Simple: love my child. He didn't ask to be born in the wrong body. He didn't ask for anything but your love. I cannot imagine not loving my child. Period.
Linda, thank you for sharing this.

That was awesome ! What a great video ! You are so brave and honest !!!! Way to go

Thank YOU for never blinking either. You have been my rock and I love you.

I feel blessed to have been on this journey with you . We have laughed and cried together, but our first reaction has never changed.....Carson is still Carson and who he is now is the same as he has always been, with the exception that he is now happy and free to live the life he feels he was meant to live . So Linda, Rudy, Culley, Kendall, and mostly TOBY you will always have me in your corner supporting you, educating people, fighting for you, and mostly living you unconditionally !!

Dear Toby,

RIGHT NOW I WANT TO TACKLE-HUG YOU AND SWING YOU AROUND AND SCREAM WITH JOY AND BUY YOU A STARBUCKS AND TAKE YOU TO PANERA AND BUY YOU REALLY GEEKY T-SHIRTS!!!!!! I have watched you grow up and I am so proud of you right now. Fly, you magnificent eagle, fly. The McKinnon family can't wait to watch you soar.

All of our love & support,
Lori, Steven & Becca (who gave your video a standing ovation and cheered)

OK, now that I am done crying...Linda, thank you for letting me be part of your small circle. I want you and Toby to know that I have your back 100% all the time.
Toby is so cool, and I LOVE the video. I am so happy he was able to have such a loving family to come out to, and it makes me sad that not every person, male or female, that is going through this has such an amazing family to support them.
You all rock as far as I am concerned and I am looking forward to the further transition of Toby. :)

[tears flowing] Sending much love to you and especially Toby. So proud of your son to finally be the person he should be. Love to all of you!! And yes, please take my hand and let me go along with you on this journey - proud to be a part!

Beautiful. You have support from me. So happy for you Toby. Continue being awesome!

Happy tears in my eyes. Carson is just Carson. Or, as should now be said, Toby is just Toby. I am so very proud of him. For his perceverance, for his courage, and for his tenacity over the last year. I know the next year will be his game changer and he will be in the perfect place- the arms of his family. All my love to all of you!

Thank you, Cindy!

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