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HIT Hot Topics 2023

Speaker

Ailish Brennan

Organisation: Women and Harm Reduction International Network (WHRIN)
Pronouns: She/Her

Ailish Brennan’s Topic

Ailish will be speaking about gender-sensitive harm reduction and her experiences as a trans woman who uses drugs working in drug policy advocacy. Trans people who use drugs face intersecting stigma and discrimination, creating visible and invisible barriers to accessing services and policy discussions affecting our lives. Despite the difficulties, there is immense joy and love to be found in a community caring for one another in situations where the world is not caring for us.

Ailish is a transgender woman from Ireland and living in Berlin where she is working as the coordinator of the Women and Harm Reduction International Network, as well as volunteering as a peer worker with the SONAR Safer Nightlife Project. She has a BA in Politics, International Relations, and Economics from University College Dublin where she founded a chapter of Students for Sensible Drug Policy, which remains active at the university. This began her work in drug policy advocacy and harm reduction and she has since worked as the Executive Director of Youth RISE before her current post with WHRIN.

Ailish has a particular interest in the needs of women, young people, and queer people who use drugs, and focuses on intersectionality in her work. She contributed a chapter of the book “Shifting the Needle: The Impact of Global Drug Policy on Women” discussing Queer Feminine Identities and the War on Drugs, focusing on her own community and experiences as a queer woman who uses drugs.

Ailish has also engaged in activism and advocacy on a number of other topics starting with the marriage equality referendum in Ireland in 2015 and assisting refugees, in particular trans women, following the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine and the following influx of Ukrainian migrants to the EU.

Ailish Brennan

Ailish Brennan’s Topic

Ailish will be speaking about gender-sensitive harm reduction and her experiences as a trans woman who uses drugs working in drug policy advocacy. Trans people who use drugs face intersecting stigma and discrimination, creating visible and invisible barriers to accessing services and policy discussions affecting our lives. Despite the difficulties, there is immense joy and love to be found in a community caring for one another in situations where the world is not caring for us.