Rebecca Ranson was born in 1943. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Radio, Television, and Film from the University of Georgia in 1970, and a Master of Fine Arts in Playwriting at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, in 1975. She worked as a creative writing instructor in North Carolina in 1978-1979, and as project and workshop director, media producer, and writer at WVSP Public Radio in Warrenton, North Carolina from 1979 to 1981. In 1982, she served as Playwright-in-residence for The Road Company, Johnson City, Tennessee, and from 1983 to 1985 she was Writer-in-residence at Harrisburg Area Community College. In 1983, when her friend Warren Johnston was diagnosed with AIDS, the center of her life became gay and lesbian issues. She became Executive Director of the Southeastern Arts, Media and Education Project (SAME), a multi-arts organization for the gay and lesbian community in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1986, serving for twelve years. In 2004 she received the Robert Chesley Foundation Lifetime Achievement award.
Ranson has written over 30 plays, many of them dealing with social issues. Warren, written after Warren Johnston died of AIDS in April 1984, was one of the first plays concerning AIDS to be produced. Other dramatic works on LGBT themes include Desperadoes: A Trilogy (1982), Secrets (1988), A Glorietta (2000), For Love and for Life, and Lavender Hearts. After more than twenty years of the AIDS crisis, she started writing a novel and conducting interviews with People with AIDS (PWA), nurses, doctors, lovers, families and friends exploring personal experiences in San Francisco and Atlanta.