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schee: if the issue is to make a topic unique, dealing w/persecution for being homosexual is probably on the "top ten" list of essay topics. That being said, a fine essay can be made with it, regardless if the topic is a re-tread.
Good writers make even mundane topics gripping, mediocre writers make scintillating topics boring.
I often point people to this article
Essays, Admission Information, Undergraduate Admission, U.Va.