100 Women We Love: Desiree Croes
by Kat Long, Jacqueline Frances and Andrew Collins
June 14, 2013

Desiree Croes is accustomed to breaking barriers. She was the first openly gay member of Aruba’s Parliament, and was the first to wed her same-sex partner while in office. It’s a fitting event for the lawmaker, who’s been involved in politics and social issues in the Dutch Caribbean territory for nearly 30 years. After teaching at a government high school for more than 15 years, Croes went on to study law at the University of Aruba. “In 2002, I became a paralegal, and also had my own legal-advice office next to my teaching job.” She became a full-time attorney in 2008. “I’ve been politically active since 1985, but I only entered the political arena in 2001, as a candidate for the AVP (Aruban People Party).” Since then, Croes has served as the director of the Cabinet of Aruba in The Hague for the Aruban Representation, on the human-rights commission of the Parlatino (Latin American Parliament). She was sworn in as a member of the Aruban Parliament in 2011. Croes is active on Twitter, especially when it comes to marriage equality. And while same-sex marriage is not legal in Aruba, she expects that will change soon following guidelines that allowed gay and lesbian couples to marry in the Netherlands since 2001. Croes even built some first-hand experience with the law – she married her partner there just last year. –NHM

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