Pat Turner grew up in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Having developed an interest in religion since early childhood, she decided to enter a convent at age 21. She studied and taught theology, but left after developing internal conflicts with some of the teachings of the Catholic Church. Nevertheless she remained a devout Catholic, and continued be active with churches long after.
After leaving the convent she ended up in Memphis, where she took up insurance work, which has remained her primary career. She moved to Boston in the late 60s, and came into contact with The Ladder, for which she wrote poetry and articles like, “What the Bible does and does not say about homosexuality.” Along with her partner Barbara Grier she was a prominent founding member of the Boston chapter of the DOB, and has published in Opus and worked on Maiden Voyage.