I prefer being called Alexandra, not Alex…
For most people their first name is very important “label” and somewhat becomes a vital part of who they are. For me my given name became an everyday reminder of things that went wrong. As a result I gradually started to avoid using my legal given name as much as possible. Where I could and was open with my situation I quickly started to use Alexandra instead but all these times where identification was needed it was more and more difficult to use it (especially when I looked as girl).
At work I think it took a bit longer before it started to bother me, maybe because it took a while before I could picture myself wearing a name tag saying “Alexandra”. Those who have called me on the phone during the last two years or so know that I used to answer with just a “hello”, which is very uncommon in Sweden. Nowadays I answer the phone saying “Alexandra” and that feel so great! It is good to be able to be proud of my name again.
Some may wonder why I chose Alexandra as my firstname and that is actually something that dates back for more than 15 years or so. I was watching a recorded play on the television and saw this beautiful girl on the stage. She was played by an actress called Alexandra something and I decided on the spot that if I ever got a daughter I would name her Alexandra. Six or seven years later when I was about to register my first emailadress at Hotmail (before Microsoft bought it from an Indian guy) the user name alexandra was taken of course. I hade seen on the web that other transgendered people had a (fictive) lastname so I decided to register alexandra_milton as my username on Hotmail. That became the name people called me and I guess before I was starting to come out at work it felt safe to have a completely ficticious name.
When I finally got my approval (which in Sweden requires a diagnosis as transsexual) to change my legal name to Alexandra I decided to keep my real lastname so that is why I tell people to stop using Milton as my last name from now on.
Another thing that is important for me is to call me “Alexandra” and not “Alex”. I know that people sometimes pick short or petnames for people maybe because it is easier to say it or so, but for me it is important to have a name that is feminine. Alex is also a name that is on the Swedish list of so called gender-neutral names. Since I am trying really hard to pass as a woman I do not want people to wonder if this person called Alex could be a man before they have even met me. That makes the chance of me passing as a woman more difficult.