Yep. Mead and cider were not worthy of the oenophiles attention, and the AHA/BJCP welcomed them.
Today there is a little shunning from the BA, as these are not legaly beer amd do not fit into the BA charter.
Yes, I've noticed in my own HBC that there is a bit of a condescending attitude about mead makers - "you're not a brewer, you're just mixing", "I'd be upset if a mead won Best of Show". Likely complicated more in recent years as wine organizations are talking about, and judging meads; and you get the chance to taste meads at wine festivals.
I usually respond by saying, "If so easy, then go ahead and show me how well you can make a really good mead", or, "like brewing, it comes down to selecting the right ingredients, and properly managing fermentation." You would never say extract brewers are not really home brewers because the upfront is not as hard as doing all grain.