John P. Hely VI '10
As a member of the United States Marine Corps, John P. Hely VI ’10 trained troops for Middle East deployments. He followed a three-star general on missions to Kenya, Bahrain, Korea, and Egypt. And he worked 90 hours a week to ensure every task was executed as flawlessly as possible—all while masking his bisexuality to comply with the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.
The 17-year-old rule prohibits gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender individuals from serving openly in the U.S. armed forces. Although Hely enjoyed being a Marine, he left the military in 2004 after four years of service. He could no longer abide by the limitations of “don’t ask, don’t tell.”
For the past three years, Hely has been advocating for the repeal of that policy. At the Law School, he cofounded the Military Association, a group of military veterans and civilian students who share an interest in the armed forces, and served as vice president of Outlaws, an LGBT student organization. He also worked with the Servicemember Legal Defense Network (SLDN), a national organization dedicated to helping those affected by “don’t ask, don’t tell.”
“It matters to me because those are people who want to serve our country,” Hely says. “If there’s anything a lawyer’s supposed to do, it’s solve inequities in the law.”
After graduation, Hely will join the Los Angeles office of Irell & Manella. The firm will allow him to work with SLDN while exploring several areas of practice. Hely hopes to specialize in intellectual property, thanks to the influence and support of Professor Clarisa Long, among others. “This has been a fantastic three years of my life,” he says, “and I could not have wished for a better way to start my legal career.”