In the 1960s Nielsen became a patient of Harry Benjamin, and as Paula transitioned in 1963. In stealth Paula was active in her local Foursquare Church and its choir. She worked as secretary to the comptroller for a theatrical agency.
In the 1970s Paula joined the gay and lesbian oriented Metropolitan Community Church. She became church secretary, came out publically as transsexual, assisted the pastor, edited the church newsletter and participated in the student clergy program. She was the religion editor for the NW Fountain, a gay community paper.
Through the 1980s, Paula wrote a column that was printed in four different alternate publications. In 1980 Paula débuted on the stage of the Darcelle XV showplace where, billed as "Portland's Own Red Hot Mama", she did Sophie Tucker impersonations.
From December 1987, Paula had her own television gospel show, and was featured as a guest on television shows in the US, the UK and Canada. She is now on the internet. For seven years Paula worked on her autobiography, and it was published in 2012.
"...God has chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise.....and things which are despised, hath God chosen...." (I Corinthians 1:27, 28)*not the Swedish actress.
- Paula Nielsen. The Trans-Evangelist:
The Life and Times of A Transgender Pentecostal Preacher. CreateSpace, 2012.
- Nancy Haught. "Sister Paula Nielsen, Portland's transgender Christian evangelist, tells all". The Oregonian, June 12, 2013. www.oregonlive.com/living/index.ssf/2013/06/sister_paula_nielsen_portlands.html.