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Persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution is the impetus for asylum seekers to flee their home countries and seek protection elsewhere. Much of the scholarly literature and published legal cases correlate persecution with trauma and approach traumatic events of asylum seekers as always living with barriers or as a “victim.” Additionally, while there is extensive research and scholarly work on LGBTQ immigrants, there is little work specifically on LGBTQ asylum seekers, which suggests these stories matter and have value but often go unheard. Whose stories are told, heard, and valued with immigrants, and specifically asylum seekers? And, what are the risks or advantages of telling stories? For asylum seekers, making a credible case of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution places their trauma in an exchange of capital that advances neoliberal governmentality in the U.S. The nation-state benefits when resourceful “victims” of persecution ask for protection. Neoliberal governmentality can be traced to Michel Foucault’s notion of “biopower” where the body is viewed as a laboring machine, disciplining the body to optimize its capabilities and extort its forces. Biopower is literally having power over other bodies in “an explosion of numerous and diverse techniques for achieving the subjugations of bodies and the control of populations.” Although neoliberal governmentality is a necessary component in discussions of political asylum, its reductionist aim leaves little room for agency for asylum seekers or those with asylum status. How might political asylees use their identities and trauma to subvert neoliberal governmentality? I argue that LGBTQ asylum seekers use their own tactics and techniques in an “art” of self-determination or what I call queer resilience to navigate and negotiate systems and structures of power. While there is no doubt that trauma exists for asylum seekers, using trauma to categorize asylum seekers as lacking, weak, defective, or even victims is a reductionist approach in understanding asylum seekers’ identities and agency. Trauma is operational in how one negotiates structures and systems of power, different spaces, building networks, and obtaining resources. Trauma offers both a useful entry into the legal aspects of political asylum processes and also advances discussions of subjectivity and epistemology. Using narrative analysis, grounded theory, poststructuralist theory, and queer theory, this dissertation unpacks the creative agency of LGBTQ asylum seekers as they make sense of their lives, form their identities, navigate spaces, and negotiate systems of power to “queer” political asylum processes. More specifically, using interviews and examining published cases and other published archival materials, this dissertation details the story of a gay man from a Latin American country who successfully gained asylum in the U.S. and how his asylum process, his trauma, and his racial, gendered, and sexual identities contributed to his agency, which subverts political asylum and offers new ways to consider the operation of biopower, governmentality, and self-determination.