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By Brooke Sopelsa

Dr. Thea Spyer was a celebrated clinical psychologist in New York City who, according to those that knew her, worked tirelessly for her patients until her death in 2009. She was also the wife of Edie Windsor, the gay marriage icon who, following the death of Dr. Spyer, decimated the Defense of Marriage Act and helped pave the way for nationwide same-sex marriage.

A poster of Edie Windsor, plaintiff in United States v. Windsor, and her late spouse Thea Spyer, is held above the crowd gathered outside Stonewall on June 26, 2013 in New York.Don Emmert / AFP/Getty Images

In recognition of Dr. Spyer’s long and successful career caring for New Yorkers -- many of them lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer -- Callen-Lorde, a network of LGBTQ community health centers in New York City, named its mental health center after the late psychologist.

Though the Thea Spyer Center has been up and running for two years, it had its official ribbon-cutting ceremony on Thursday. And who better to cut the ribbon, than Edie Windsor herself.

Edie Windsor at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Thea Spyer Center in New York City on November 3, 2016.Milos Balac

“Thea was valiant, but mostly, she loved her work, and she just kept doing it. Naming this new Callen-Lorde center after Thea is just so appropriate, and it thrills me,” Windsor told the crowd at Thursday’s ceremony.

The Thea Spyer Center, located in Manhattan's Chelsea neighborhood, serves thousands of LGBTQ New Yorkers yearly, offering “short and long term counseling, psychotherapy, crisis intervention, group therapy and more, all delivered through a supportive and culturally competent model by experts in LGBTQ health and wellness.”

United States v. Windsor plaintiff Edie Windsor and Obergefell v. Hodges plaintiff Jim Obergefell holding the scissor used to cut the ribbon of the Thea Spyer Center in New York City on Nov. 3, 2016.Milos Balac

Callen-Lorde is now in five locations throughout New York City, and due to the large demand for its services, the organization has plans to continue expanding.

“We have a community obligation to all the folks calling us and unable to access our services today. We did a measurement in the spring to see how many people were calling each day that we simply didn’t have the physical plant capacity to serve. That number was 20 people per day. It’s unacceptable,” Callen-Lorde Executive Director Wendy Stark said. “So we feel very strongly that we have to continue to grow and expand our services to meet that community need -- it’s our obligation.”

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