Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2021-12-08



Survivor shares the story of trauma and thriving in 'Untold'
by Melissa Wasserman

This article shared 1155 times since Tue Sep 7, 2021
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

WARNING: This article contains material of a graphic nature.

Gina M. Garcia is finally sharing her story of thriving after trauma in her new docu-drama biography, Untold: This is My Story, which premieres Sept. 6 at the TCL Chinese Theater in Hollywood, California.

Garcia, who is Filipino and Spanish, was born in Tehran, Iran. At age 3, she settled in Orlando, Florida, with her parents and three older siblings. When people asked what she wanted to be when she grew up, her father encouraged her to say "awesome."

Today, Garcia is an entrepreneur and keeps busy by remodeling houses, consulting aspiring business owners and Trikaroo, a line of small footprint electric passenger vehicles. Garcia explained Trikaroo is a modern take on old-fashioned technology and it pays homage to the company her mother used to run in the Philippines, which operated pedicabs and jipneys. She also enjoys living on the Gulf of Mexico, watching the Tampa Bay Buccaneers play and spending time with her "tribe."

When talking about how she got to where she is today and the long-term effects of the traumas she experienced, she stated "the most beautiful things in the world are made from broken things."

"You can't make a cake without breaking an egg," she pointed out. "Mosaics are broken pieces of glass. I wish people could start looking at it that way versus 'oh, she's just broken.'"

At age 8, Garcia was raped, assaulted at knifepoint and kidnapped at the Fashion Square Mall in Orlando, Florida, on Oct. 12, 1981. According to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC), 99 percent of all children abducted by a stranger are murdered within the first 24 hours.

Being the 1 percent, Garcia escaped her captor when another car ran a stop sign, slowing down the car that carried Garcia and she had the chance to jump.

Many people believe she was taken by the same person that abducted and murdered Adam Walsh, (son of John Walsh, host and creator of America's Most Wanted).

"I'm not a survivor; I'm a thriver," Garcia corrected.

In 2006, Garcia was once again victimized when her business was burglarized in an apparent hate crime. Triggered from what she experienced as a child, she sought mental health treatment from the Veterans Administration (VA) Hospital, where she was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Garcia explained that she met different women through the VA system that helped her to learn about herself.

"The power of community, regardless of what it looks like, these women were twice my age, they were all different from me," Garcia said.

In 2008, one of her former employees who was housesitting for her broke into her mother's house nearby, bludgeoned her and sexually assaulted her. When Garcia arrived to a scene at her mother's house with cameras in her face, she did not know what happened or who did it at first. She recalled all the news reporters being puzzled at her strength in the traumatic time. Her conversation with Derrol Nail of Fox 35 News in Orlando, she said, was inspiring. Garcia explained that Nail did not have the camera on her and was human. He also asked her why she was so strong and assertive with the news crews after such a scene, at which point she told him what had happened to her when she was a child 25 years ago. Her response was met with shock.

"I spent 28 days and wrote my scripts and told my story because Derrol Nail told me nobody knows your story," said Garcia, Untold's writer, director and producer. "And I really didn't know they needed to."

In 2009, Garcia attended film school at the International Academy for Film and Television in the Philippines. At an award ceremony for a film project Garcia helped produce, she met award-winning writer and director Patty Jenkins. The movie Monster resonated with Garcia and she admired Jenkins for her work.

Asking Jenkins to direct her story, she declined insisting Garcia was the one who had to tell her own story. According to Garcia, after stating she was not a director, Jenkins responded "you will be when you are done."

"I got to tell my story the way I wanted to," said Garcia. "Because I was able to do it on my terms and I think that's why I finally love my movie. Because when I had everybody in Hollywood—and I do appreciate them—everybody influenced my story, and I kind of caved. I caved to everyone else's influence. We do that as human beings. We cave to peer pressure and we cave to people that you think know more than you do, but at the end of the day, if I'm going to tell my story, it's going to be my story."

After years of self-funding the project and editing, her movie, Untold, will finally make its debut. Garcia's film tells her inspiring true story of the hate crime that triggered disturbing flashbacks to her childhood traumas causing her to seek treatment for PTSD within the VA system and the heavy effects it had on those around her. The Untold cast includes Terri Ivens, Melody Butiu, Jennifer Rubin, Carlos Gomez, Brian Gaskill, Les Brandt, Julie Goldman and civil rights attorney Gloria Allred.

"We watch our gay cinema and expect the characters to die," said Garcia, who is a lesbian. "We don't expect them to live and we don't expect them to thrive. So what does that say about our community when we're making our movies?! We see them as campy comedies and we see dramas, as brutal and ugly. Parts of my movie [are] brutal and ugly, but at the end of it, you see a celebration and you see somebody that actually made it through the other side. That's what I want to showcase in all my projects is that we can make it."

Untold has been adapted into a book called Untold: I am the 1% and launched The Untold Project charity, which provides sexual assault survivors with a safe space to tell their own stories.

"If I had to go through all this just to help one person, it's been all worth it," Garcia said.

Garcia spoke for a moment about the power of jumping. A part that did not make the film, was her memory of Lionel Playworld, which had kangaroos on its sign. When she was abducted, she described, the man took her to the back of the mall where Lionel Playworld was, a place she used to go with her father.

" I just looked up at the sign and I stared at kangaroos," she said. "The interesting part is my company is now called Trikaroo and our mascot is a kangaroo. It's not triggering, it's actually empowering because the kangaroos rewrote my history."

Calling it "trippy," she remembers the kangaroo talking to her and she sang the commercial in her head during that moment.

Kangaroos and, specifically, jumping, she shared, have popped up throughout her life and saved her. Jumping saved her from her captor; her business' mascot is a kangaroo with the joey on top steering; she jumped into writing her film when Nail encouraged her and jumped into directing when Jenkins instructed her.

"I hope to show other people how they can be a Wonder Woman themselves," said Garcia. "Everybody has superpowers and mine right now is just to have a voice and just say 'hey, this really happens; it's okay, you can get through it and what you believe is broken is actually beautiful.' If I can showcase that and call it art or call it cinema, a movie, a book and can get people to realize that, the monsters don't win anymore. For me, I carried this person who raped and assaulted me at the back of my head for 25 years before I started dealing with it. That person took away relationships, it took intimate relationships, relationships with friends and things like that because I didn't know that there were proper coping skills."

To learn more about Untold: This is My Story, which has various upcoming screening dates around the country, visit .

This article shared 1155 times since Tue Sep 7, 2021
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Gay News

MOVIES Siskel films include 'The Power of the Dog,' 'Flee' 2022-01-20
- The Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N. State St., has current and upcoming movie slates that include everything from older classics to current award-festival favorites. On the more contemporary side, the Jane Campion film The Power ...

Gay News

Revry's Black History Month of LGBTQ-First Films and Series celebrates Black stories 2022-01-20
-- From a press release - Los Angeles - This Black History Month, Revry is programming LGBTQ-first Black stories with themes from the differently-abled, LGBTQ athletes, activists and the lesbian, trans and the cis-gender lesbian community. Over 35% of Revry's audience is ...

Gay News

Billy Masters: Colton Underwood, Golden Globes and more 2022-01-17
- "I was not prepared to receive death threats over a fictional character's fictional relationship choices that are fictional which means not real."—A writer on the Sex and the City sequel And Just Like That describes feedback ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ Music festivals, Murray Bartlett, Reese Witherspoon, author David Sedaris 2022-01-16
- Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival revealed the lineup for this year's festival, taking place June 16-19 on the Bonnaroo Farm in Manchester, Tennessee, a press release noted. Highlights will include performances by Tool, J. Cole, Stevie ...

Gay News

SAG nominees include 'Gucci,' 'Power of the Dog,' 'Squid Game' 2022-01-12
- Nominees for the 28th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards honoring outstanding individual, cast and ensemble performances for the past year were announced Jan. 12 by actors Rosario Dawson and Vanessa Hudgens via Instagram Live, according to ...

Gay News

NBJC celebrates Mj Rodriguez on Golden Globes win 2022-01-11
—From a press release - The National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) congratulates Michaela Jae "Mj" Rodriguez on earning the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a TV Drama during the 2022 Golden Globe Awards. Rodriguez won for her role as Blanca ...

Gay News

Billy Masters: Andy Cohen, SJP and more 2022-01-10
- The virus hit us both like a freight train. Thankfully, we were both triple vaccinated and the vaccinations did their job, which kept us out of real danger and out of the hospital… [We're] still isolating and waiting to see until we test ...

Gay News

Trans actress Rodriguez makes history at quiet Golden Globes 2022-01-10
- On Jan. 9, Michaela Jae "Mj" Rodriguez won a Golden Globe for best actress in a TV drama for her role as Blanca on the FX show Pose, according to media reports. The awards were announced on social media, as the Globes were not broadcast or live-streamed ...

Gay News

Chicago's first-ever Festival au Cinema to take place Aug. 26-28 2022-01-07
- Haven Chicago has announced its first-ever Festival au Cinema, described as "the company's new platform for visionary and innovative filmmakers and media artists staking their claim in the future of digital storytelling." Festival au Cinema will ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ JoJo Siwa, Jeopardy! champ, director dies, Frank Ocean 2022-01-02
- TikTok fans of LGBTQ entertainer Jojo Siwa said her new teenage girlfriend, Katie Mills, is a supporter of anti-LGBTQ Republican former President Donald Trump, per LGBTQ Nation. Mills also once questioned if transgender women are "actually" ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ The film 'Licorice Pizza,' Aaron Sorkin, WNBA player, Mariah Carey 2021-12-26
- Alana Haim, who stars in the film Licorice Pizza (now out in theaters), talked with about how the movie incorporates queer representation by including unsung queer political figure Joel Wachs. "Joel Wachs was such an ...

Gay News

'Real Housewife' Julia Lemigova talks about Miami Housewives, miniature cattle 2021-12-24
- The Real Housewives of Miami finally has an out and proud member of the LGBTQ+ in the main cast with Julia Lemigova. (She's the franchise's second such cast member, following The Real Housewives of Orange County's ...

Gay News

Filmmaker B. Danielle Watkins discusses her 'Higher Spirit' 2021-12-22
- Although lesbian filmmaker/screenwriter/author B. Danielle Watkins has now made two films about Christmas, she admitted she really doesn't like movies that center on the holiday. "My best friend and business partner, Onyx Keesha, loves them," Watkins ...

Gay News

MOVIES Twenty years after the premiere of 'Kevin's Room,' the film still resonates 2021-12-21
- Walking down a Chicago street in 2021, actor Keith Butler said a man recognized him from a character that he played in a film two decades ago: Kevin, from the local production Kevin's Room. "The fact ...

Gay News

Chicago's historic Fine Arts Building launches new website, ticketing for spring productions 2021-12-21
- Chicago's Fine Arts Building, 410 S. Michigan Ave., launched its new look and a website with centralized ticketing and rental platforms that encompass all of the landmark building's spaces: artists' studios, offices, rehearsal halls and two ...


Copyright © 2022 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.






About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.