Mar’Quis ‘MJ’ Jackson: Trans man ‘full of life and love’ found dead in suspected violent killing

A selfie photo of Mar'Quis Jackson wearing a white t-shirt shows him staring into the camera

Mar’Quis Jackson, “a very proud, out trans man”, has been found dead in Philadelphia, having reportedly suffered blunt force trauma to his head. 

Jackson, known as “MJ”, was discovered on Wednesday (14 December) in the backyard of a home in the neighbourhood of Nicetown. 

The 33-year-old had only just celebrated his birthday on Monday (12 December) and hadn’t returned home. 

In a bid to find him his mother called friends and acquaintances. She then reached the person living in the house attached to the garden where his body was found. 

A family friend identifies the found body as Jackson’s. His family were informed he may have been dead for as long as two days.

Philadelphia Police are investigating Jackson’s death as a homicide. According to his friends, a suspect was detained but released due to lack of evidence. 

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Jackson’s friend Sharree Harvey described the 33-year-old as “full of life and love” and “well-known as a very proud, out trans man”.

Harvey said he “would get the party started anywhere”, and added that Jackson “loved everybody” and  he “wasn’t a person you can stay mad at”. 

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In honour of her late friend Harvey arranged a memorial vigil on Sunday (18 December). She will also support Jackson’s mother as she plans her son’s funeral. 

Fundraiser for Mar’Quis ‘MJ’ Jackson’s funeral nears goal

A fundraiser to help pay the costs of the funeral has been set up by Harvey. Its end goal is to reach $2,000, with more than $1,750 having already been raised. 

Jackson grew up in South Carolina and was an avid supporter of many LGBTQ+ organisations, a few of which included the William Way Center and the Transgender Legal Defense Fund. 

Jackson is one of at least 39 trans, non-binary, or gender-nonconforming people to die by violence in the US this year. 

This harrowing total includes trans man Daniel Aston and trans woman Kelly Loving who were killed in the devastating Colorado Springs shooting on 19 November. 

According to LGBTQ+ advocacy organisation Human Rights Campaign (HRC), since 2013, when it began tracking trans murders, more than 300 trans people have been violently killed in the US.

Anyone with information that could aid the investigation is asked to call or text (215) 686-TIPS or submit information online. 

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