Harriet McInerney

Photo of Harriet McInerney

Department of Theology and Religion
Doctoral researcher

Contact details

PhD title: A critical examination of the sexual and religious lives of bisexual+ Church of England 18- to 25-year-olds
Supervisors: Dr Karen Wenell and Dr Sarah Hall
PhD Theology and Religion


  • BA (Hons) Theology and Religion (University of Birmingham), 2018
  • MA Theology and Religion (Durham University), 2019


From 2015 to 2018 I studied for a Bachelor’s degree at the University of Birmingham in Theology and Religion, graduating with a 2:1. My dissertation focused on the secularization of contemporary British society, with a specific focus on the rise and fall of religious belief in the British Armed Forces. In 2018 I moved to Durham to study for a Master’s in Theology and Religion, graduating with a Merit. In preparation for my doctoral research, my Master’s dissertation focused on the way LGBT+ Church of England university students created a relationship between their sexuality and their faith, with a specific focus on the impact of worshipping in two churches. I chose to return to Birmingham, my alma mater and home city, to begin my doctoral research. I specifically chose to focus my studies on the bisexual+ community, as I believe that in LGBT+ theological study, the ‘B’ is often ignored.

Alongside my topic of study, I am interested in the following areas; religion and LGBT+ issues in defence, Relationships and Sex Education and Religious Education in the UK secondary school system, and religious communities in South Wales.


My research focuses on the sexual and religious identities of individuals who identify under the bisexual umbrella and worship within the Church of England, between the ages of 18 to 25. In order to understand how these identities develop, I have chosen to focus on the lived experiences of these individuals, alongside the language used in Church of England policy documents alongside their cultural contexts, specifically those that make a reference to bisexuality. Most of my research will be undertaken via qualitative semi-structured interviews, with two different groups. The first group will consist of both scholars and clergy involved with the recent Living in Love and Faith (2020) project, published by the Church of England. The second group will involve those mentioned in the title of the thesis. Through these interviews, I am hoping to build a picture from both the ‘bottom up’ and the ‘top down’ of how Church policy is perceived by those reading, and those writing, examining the disparities that exist between lived experience and Church ideology.

Other activities

  • Bisexual Research group, member, 2020 – present Paper presentation
  • University of Birmingham ROLES Conference, July 2021 - 'Positionality in the study of Christian faith and and bisexuality: placing oneself when you're questioning both'
  • International Bisexuality Research Conference, September 2021 - 'Lightning talk' presenter and focus group host on bisexual positioning in Christian space