Ed Jackson was born in Fredericton, New Brunswick and moved to Toronto in 1966.
During the early 1970s he served on the steering committee of Toronto Gay Action, and was a member of the counseling staff of CHAT (Community Homophile Association of Toronto). Jackson was one of three Directors for Pink Triangle Press, which published The Body Politic.
He was one of those charged on 5 January 1978 for distributing immoral, indecent or scurrilous material. The charges followed a 30 December 1977 raid by police of The Body Politic office, prompted by the journal's publication of the article "Men Loving Boys Loving Men". The charges were eventually acquitted, despite several appeals by the Crown.
In 1982, Jackson co-edited Flaunting It! A Decade of Gay Journalism from the Body Politic. Jackson left The Body Politic in 1986 to begin work with the Aids Committee of Toronto (ACT). Involved with both the Canadian Gay and Lesbian Archives and the Toronto Centre for Lesbian and Gay Studies; he managed educational and awareness programming for the AIDS Committee of Toronto for seven years. a position which he resigned in 1997.