I hear ya man! I'm from Columbus, Ohio, home of Westside Barbell, and let's just say that me and a few of my friends who competed in BP comps, were called "bench press f@ggots" many a time :>
And rightfully so! I have called myself a powerlifter for 20 years while doing bench only, and it has taken me this long to realize I was lying to myself. Not to mention pissing on real PLers who actually do all three lifts. Yes, my knees are busted (from cycling, not from lifting). Yes, I have a congenital back problem. So fucking what!? If amputees can squat, then I have no excuse.
I'm too old to make a dent in any seniors competition, but I'm gunning for masters comps. Turning 40 3 years from now, so I have some time to prepare. A 450 raw squat (or "pure", however you want to call no wraps, no belt, no suits) at the end of this year would be a good start. Hit 355 like this was two weeks ago (+385 with belt), so it should be doable. Then a totally raw 600-400-600 at M1, 242 would be great. Currently 280 with 40% bf, so plenty of room to cut.