Mar’Quis ‘MJ’ Jackson: Black trans activist found dead in suspected homicide

Mar’Quis ‘MJ’ Jackson: Black trans activist found dead in suspected homicide

He is the fifth known trans person to be killed in Pennsylvania this year, and the second victim from Philadelphia.


Police are investigating after a Black transgender man was found dead in Philadelphia on December 12, having apparently suffered blunt force trauma to his head.


The body of Mar’Quis “MJ” Jackson was discovered in the backyard of a home in Philadelphia’s Nicetown neighborhood, Jackson’s family told Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents.


Jackson, known as “MJ”, hadn’t returned home after celebrating his 33rd birthday two days earlier. His mother called several of his friends and acquaintances, and she eventually reached the resident of the house where his body was found in the garden.

His remains may have been in the yard for the entire two days.

Mar’Quis ‘MJ’ Jackson
Mar’Quis ‘MJ’ Jackson

Philadelphia Police are investigating Mar’Quis death as a homicide. According to friends, a suspect was detained and then released due to lack of evidence.


MJ’s friend, Sharree Harvey, said Jackson was “full of life and love” and “would get the party started anywhere,” in a GoFundMe setup to help with Jackson’s funeral expenses.


Born and raised in South Carolina, Jackson was involved in activism, supporting Philadelphia’s William Way Center, the Transgender Legal Defense Fund, and the Free Ky Project. 

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Mar’Quis ‘MJ’ Jackson
Mar’Quis ‘MJ’ Jackson


The GoFundMe page reads:

“He was recently was involved in a situation which caused him his life. To the people that know me know i don’t ask for much but his family is in need of your help, he didn’t have life insurance and his mom is struggling to provide the perfect home going service for MJ. If it’s not to much to ask could you donate to this GoFundMe link maybe $1 or 2 The Jackson family would greatly appreciate your help. Thank you to all that sent your condolences.”


MJ adds to the tally of at least 39 trans, non-binary, or gender-nonconforming people to die by violence in the US this year. 

In 2022, trans people of color comprised 81% of the victims killed, and 59% were Black, according to HRC’s annual report

All these figures are likely to underrepresent true numbers significantly, as often these stories go unreported, or misreported.


Anyone with information that could help the investigation is asked to call or text (215) 686-TIPS or submit information to police online. Tips can be offered anonymously.


Support MJ’s GoFundMe, here.

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