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This post was written by Hatchet reporter Ian Redman

Ugandan gay rights activist Frank Mugisha lives in constant danger.

Still, his fight for sexual equality is relentless.

“The things I have to deal with everyday in Uganda, my fellow gays and transgenders who come to me seeking support, walking through prisons and talking, talking to someone who is about to commit suicide and helping them; that is where I get my courage,” Mugisha told a crowd of students Wednesday. “That is where I get my motivation.”

The 29-year-old LGBT defender and leader of the underground organization Sexual Minorities of Uganda said he strives for people across the world to regard gay rights as human rights.

“The issue of those LGBT rights is not special rights or any kind of different rights but should be the same as all the rights in the world,” Mugisha said. “We need to look at the struggle in Uganda as not only a struggle in Uganda, but as a global struggle.”

Mugisha received this year’s Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award on Nov. 10 – the first to be awarded for LGBT advocacy.

The gay rights defender garnered the international attention during his organization multi-year battle to shelve the country’s infamous “anti-gay” legislation. The bill – that includes the death penalty or life imprisonment for homosexual behavior – re-entered parliamentary debates last month.

In October 2010, a Ugandan tabloid included Mugisha in a list of the nation’s 100 most prominent homosexuals with the headline: “Hang them.” His colleague David Kato, who was also identified, was brutally murdered this January.

“Everyday I wake up and want to make a change, and end that violence,” Mugisha said.

While every homosexual in Uganda is a target for violence, Mugisha said receiving this award made him even more visible.  He said it also provided greater protection because the government knows people are keeping an eye on him.

Mugisha said the strong homophobia in Uganda is a product of American Evangelists in the East African nation, as well as the lack of understanding about the LGBT community.

Seven student organizations co-hosted the event, which included an introduction from Timothy Kane, director of the GW’s LGBT resource center, who lauded the importance of Mugisha’s efforts.

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invisible children Jessica Crawford

Jessica Crawford, a self titled roadie for Invisible Children, speaks to students about violence in Uganda before the screening of the organization's documentary, "Tony," on Tuesday night in Funger Hall. Michael Boosalis | Hatchet Photographer

The post was written by Hatchet reporter Cat Barnao.

About 50 students gathered in Funger Hall on Monday night for GW Invisible Children’s screening of a documentary, part of the nationwide movement seeking to raise awareness about Africa’s longest running war in northern Uganda.

The audience heard from a Ugandan woman who escaped abduction from rebels in her country as a teenager.

When when the rebels came to her village, Stella Mistica recalled with horror how she pretended to be an old woman so the rebels would not abduct her. Mistica now mentors girls who return home after being abducted.

She stressed the importance of young people across the world fighting to end the tragedy in her country.

“The youth can do more to help their fellow youth, because youth understand their fellow youth,” Mistica said. “That is why we show students the film.”

The film “Tony,” created by the national Invisible Children organization, is about a teenager growing up during the civil war between the Ugandan government and the Lord’s Resistance Army. The conflict has lasted 23 years, uprooting more than 2 million civilians from their homes and abducting thousands of children into the rebel army.

The 60-minute film depicted the ordinary aspects of Tony’s life as a teenager—listening to rap and going on Facebook—and the less ordinary, spending nights huddled with other children on damp concrete floors, fearful that the rebels of the LRA would come to kidnap them to fight in their army of child soldiers.

“GW students are so politically driven and internationally driven,” said Megan McDonough, president of GW chapter of Invisible Children. “It’s important for us to know what’s going on.”

Pi Beta Phi, Phi Sigma Sigma, GlobeMed, Stand, Amnesty International, Voice Gospel Choir, the African Student Association and College Democrats co-hosted the event.

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