With images of herself literally draped in self-identity, University of Missouri volleyball player Dariana Hollingsworth came out to the world as bisexual Thursday. The Mizzou senior made the announcement via Twitter with a pair of pictures from a recent team photo shoot where she posed with the Puerto Rican and Pride flags alongside a message of affirmation. “No shame in who I am, only pride,” Hollingsworth wrote.
For Hollingsworth, bringing the Pride flag to the photo shoot provided the “perfect opportunity” to highlight her own identity and LGBTQ visibility as a whole. “I felt that it was the right statement,” Hollingsworth told Outsports. “It would be a step in the right direction and encourage other athletes to do the same and wear their identities on their sleeves.”
No shame in who I am, only pride. pic.twitter.com/q6Cddg11mA— dariana hollingsworth (@dariana_nahir) August 27, 2020
It also made for what Hollingsworth described as a fun and celebratory environment during the photo shoot. “I pulled [the Pride flag] out of my bag and there were beaming smiles everywhere. My best friend was smiling so hard. When I posed with [the flag] she would be my hype woman,” Hollingsworth said. She told Outsports that she’s received support from her teammates yet was taken aback to see the swell of support her announcement garnered. Especially acknowledgement from USA Volleyball. “I was so shocked… this is revolutionary,” she added.
The decision also represented Hollingsworth leading by example in addressing what she sees as a lack of support for LGBTQ Pride on the Mizzou campus. “In the four years that I’ve been here, Mizzou athletics hasn’t really done their part to support Pride,” Hollingsworth said. “If we’re so supportive of our athletes and want to be there for them then I think we need to raise the Pride flag. We need to recognize these athletes that are struggling with their own identity and the ones that do accept it and are freely who they are but we don’t recognize it.”
That statement toward the university’s culture isn’t where the mission of visibility and representation stops for Hollingsworth. She feels ready to take on the role. “it’s very freeing to know that I can live like this and still inspire others to do the same,” Hollingsworth said.
We at Outsports congratulate Dariana Hollingsworth on living her truth!