Christian self-help author Rachel Hollis claimed that her publisher tried to cut a chapter that specifically said it was okay to accept gay people from her bestselling book, Girl, Wash Your Face. The book has dominated the literary charts for more than a year.
Hollis posted a photo of her wrist tattoo – the number 19 – and said fans often ask about it. She said it refers to chapter 19 of her book and the struggle it took to make sure it was included.
“Chapter 19 was the one that the publisher removed from the book and refused to publish because I wrote about my friends who were gay… they told me that including the story was too controversial and would offend a conservative audience. ‘You don’t understand how many fans you’ll get, you don’t understand how famous you’re going to be’ my editor told me. ‘But NOT if you include this. You can believe whatever you want to believe, just don’t tell everybody what it is.’,” she wrote on Facebook.
“I was devastated. I was so disappointed that I had partnered with a team that would ask me to trade my integrity for book sales. I —naively— didn’t even know a publisher could remove something from your writing. I felt like I was letting down my friends who have fought SO freaking hard to be treated with respect and to have the same rights as me and my husband. Those friends and countless others like them may not ever have an opportunity to write about their story. But I had the opportunity and it was being taken away.”
Hollis’ book was published by Thomas Nelson, a Christian imprint of HarperCollins. The company is one of the oldest and largest Bible publishers in the world.
“I honestly went a little nuts: I reached out to the head publisher, I threatened to sue, I fought and fought and fought and finally, they agreed to keep chapter 19 in the book,” Hollis shared.” To celebrate, me and the same friends I was writing about all went and got ’19’ on our wrist to remind us to always fight for what’s right and to use our platforms to speak the truth and testify to love.”
“Today I want to speak it once again to all of my #lgbtqfriends here on facebook. You are LOVED. You are WORTHY. You are beautifully and wonderfully made and you are always, ALWAYS welcomed here. We’re so proud to know you. We’re so proud to call you our friend. Love you ??”
Hollis fan base, mostly Christian women, responded to her story with mostly positive messages.
“I am a very conservative Christian, I was not offended by chapter 19 at all. I am of the belief that you do not have to agree with someone in order to love and respect them. Jesus did not agree with everyone’s lifestyle but he showed the same love to ALL,” one woman wrote.
“I loved that chapter,” another fan wrote before telling the author why it resonated with her. “I gained more respect for you in that chapter than any other- I am a Christian women who raised my children in a Christian home, we went, still go to church every Sunday- of my three children, one of my sons along with my daughter are gay. And you know what- as their mom, I knew they were each gay before they were 5 years old.”
“It broke my heart, I didn’t encourage it, but as young adults they came to me, my son first and two years later my daughter. I pray always for their salvation, health and happiness. Next month my son and his partner are getting married and next April my Daughter is marrying her partner. I love them all, but their challenges are many. Thank you for fighting ❤️????”