Temperance Tantrum Raises Money for Black Queer Lives

This piece was created by muralist and illustrator Crystal Clarity and commissioned by Until We Are All Free, an organization dedicated to working with “artists across disciplines and leaders across sectors to break down the walls that separate us and challenge the incarceration, deportation and detention of our communities.”

A newly formed social justice collective in New Paltz is contributing to the Black Lives Matter movement by making their presence as widespread — yet anonymous — as possible.

Temperance Tantrum, a collective of queer artists, sells art to fundraise money for Black queer people in need of support. The collective aims to uplift the efforts of Black activists and community members by helping them attain the financial stability necessary for them to continue their activism, follow their passions and/or just be able to access food and shelter. 

According to the group, however, their goal is not to garner any attention for themselves as individuals or even as an organization, but merely to uplift Black voices — especially Black trans voices — through the collective.

“We understand that as white folks, it is not our role to be centered in this movement,” said Tovah Goldfrab, a member of the collective. “We need to follow the work of others and really evaluate our role as white allies.”

The group of artists acknowledges that they are currently a predominantly white organization, but they say it doesn’t mean they shouldn’t actively support the Black Lives Matter movement — it means they must do exactly that, but in a way that is not self-centered.

This assortment of earrings was made by @queerjewlz. The duck earrings are by Cici, @itsceciliasin on Instagram.

Every other Sunday, Temperance Tantrum sets up shop at the New Paltz farmers market (located on Church Street) and sells art to fundraise for a specific person or organization, which is always clearly noted on the day of. All of the proceeds are donated to the organization or person directly.

Their goal is simply to uplift the work and lives of queer Black people, and make it easier for them to continue pursuing their needs and passions. 

For instance, two weeks ago Temperance Tantrum raised money for Saije, a community organizer and “beacon of love and support” for the Hudson Valley transgender community. With no family support since coming out at age 19, Saije needed financial support to afford her gender reassignment surgery (the average cost in America of a surgery of its kind is $35,000). 

In only one day, Temperance Tantrum raised about $750 for her transition fund. 

The collective has also raised money for several organizations: the Newburgh LGBTQ+ Center, Nobody Leaves MidHudson and For the Gworls, which raises money to help Black transgender people pay rent or for gender reassignment surgery. 

The collective has also fundraised to help a local Black activist (one leader of the organization Until We Are All Free) relocate homes after he and his family were targeted with hate after he led a Black Lives Matter protest in Pleasant Valley.

Another day, they fundraised to support a Black New Paltz alum, Patrick Jonathan Derilus, in paying rent so that he could achieve his dream of being a teacher. As Derilus says on his GoFundMe page, “We need more Black teachers, especially queer Black men, to teach and inspire our next generation of thinkers and policymakers. I dream of being a creative writing professor… but first, I need to have a place to live.” 

Fundraising for Black transgender people specifically has been a major and intentional focus of Temperance Tantrum. 

“As queer people, as trans people, as non-binary people, those are my siblings. Those are my family and they get the least help, arguably, out of anybody in our entire society,” said Hazel, a member of the collective (who has requested to not include their last name). 

It’s statistically and historically true that the intersection between Black and queer identities (especially the transgender identity) very often results in a distinct experience of heightened oppression.

For instance, the Human Rights Campaign reports that the Black transgender rate of unemployment is double that of the Black cisgender population. One reason? Until just four months ago, it was completely legal to fire someone solely for being transgender, gay or bisexual in more than half of America’s states. 

Temperance Tantrum fundraised for Patrick Jonathan Derilus (pictured above at the queer liberation march in New York City) after he posted his Go Fund Me which stated “I will find a way to make a difference in the lives of young students and be the role model they badly need, but I need your help to ensure my survival.”

Further, although the predominant stories of police brutality that go mainstream are about cisgender Black men, there are countless Black transgender people whose stories are ignored. (Rest in power Tony McDade. Rest in power Nina Pop. Rest in power Layleen Polanco.)

According to a National Transgender Discrimination survey cited in Vox, more than one-third of Black transgender people who have interacted with the police reported harassment, and 15% reported that they experienced biased motivated assault by officers.

Whether the Black transgender community experiences disproportionately unfair conditions is not a question. Temperance Tantrum aims to hone in on this disparity and support members of this community in their activism and in their quest to live a life of abundance and freedom. 

Ultimately, though, Hazel says: “We shouldn’t need a threat to ourselves to feel that for others. We can be as safe as is possible and if anybody isn’t safe, we shouldn’t be comfortable. We shouldn’t be happy with that. Because we are living in a world built on the bedrock of their suffering, literally built on the bones of oppressed and enslaved Black people who were forcibly dragged here.” 

Since this summer, Temperance Tantrum has raised $5,000. Those who are interested in supporting their efforts can donate to any of the individuals directly (GoFundMes and organizations linked here) or stop by the farmer’s market this Sunday, Oct. 18 to buy art for a good cause or just leave a donation. 

Their next fundraiser at the market will be on Nov. 1.

You can contact them at the email address: tantrum.temperance@gmail.com.

Ultimately, though, Hazel says: “We shouldn’t need a threat to ourselves to feel that for others. We can be as safe as is possible and if anybody isn’t safe, we shouldn’t be comfortable. We shouldn’t be happy with that. Because we are living in a world built on the bedrock of their suffering, literally built on the bones of oppressed and enslaved Black people who were forcibly dragged here.”