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.
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.
“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.”
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.”