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Long Beach Pride 2019: Brad William Henke of ‘Orange Is the New Black’ to ride in parade

Brad William Henke

Brad William Henke — hunky, bear prison guard Desi Piscatella on “Orange Is The New Black” — will participate in the Long Beach Pride Parade.

LONG BEACH — Brad William Henke — hunky, bear prison guard Desi Piscatella on “Orange Is The New Black” — will participate in the Long Beach Pride Parade.

“Since playing Piscatella on ‘Orange is the New Black,’ I have been embraced by so many talented, sweet, and hardworking people from the LGBTQ+ community, and I have heard their heart wrenching experiences of inequality,” Henke said in a statement.

Long Beach Pride Parade

The Long Beach Lesbian and Gay Pride Parade will begin at Lindero Avenue and Ocean Boulevard 10:30 a.m. May 19.

The parade grand marshals have been announced, including Delta Work.

Long Beach Pride Festival

The Long Beach Lesbian and Gay Pride Festival will take place May 18 and 19 at Marina Green Park and Rainbow Lagoon along Shoreline Drive from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Big Freedia will headline the festival May 19.

Tickets, $20 each day plus service fees, are available online.

Henke will be riding in the parade with the Long Beach Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce because he supports the group and was impressed that last month they helped Long Beach become the first city in California to recognize LGBTQ certified businesses.

The certification, which is approved by the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, allows the city to track the number of and outreach to LGBTQ-owned businesses.

Brad William Henke

Brad William Henke’s Henke’s breakout role has been on “Orange Is The New Black” as Desi Piscatella, a gay corrections officer at Litchfield Federal Penitentiary. Photo: Netflix.

Brad William Henke

Henke, 53, is a former  National Football League and Arena Football League player. He was born in Columbus, Nebraska, and attended the University of Arizona, where he played football as a defensive lineman.

Henke was drafted by the New York Giants in the 1989 NFL Draft, but got cut. He was picked up by the Denver Broncos and played in Super Bowl XXIV against the San Francisco 49ers.

In 1994, after repeated injuries that required six ankle surgeries, Henke retired from professional football.

‘Orange Is the New Black’

Henke started acting in 1994 and has appeared on several TV shows, including  ARLI$$,” “ER,” “Dexter,” “Lost,” “Justified,” and “The Office.”

Henke’s breakout role has been on “Orange Is The New Black” as Desi Piscatella, a gay corrections officer at Litchfield Federal Penitentiary. He joined the show in the fourth season and was part of the cast that won the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series for 2016.

About the author

Phillip Zonkel

Award-winning journalist Phillip Zonkel spent 17 years at Long Beach's Press-Telegram, where he was the first reporter in the paper's history to have a beat covering the city's vibrant LGBTQ. He also created and ran the popular and innovative LGBTQ news blog, Out in the 562.

He won two awards and received a nomination for his reporting on the local LGBTQ community, including a two-part investigation that exposed anti-gay bullying of local high school students and the school districts' failure to implement state mandated protections for LGBTQ students.

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