It sounds to me that the problem here is not so much the OSR label itself and more the specific person you're using as a gatekeepers. Your game might not seem like OSR to that person but that really doesn't mean too much.Yeah it did make things more hopeful for low-level characters, and I also remember being expected to start at level 1 regardless of how stupid-high the others were. Gold as xp made that not as awful long-term.
I've also had the XP in OUB Core described uncharitably as "granola hippy shit" - another death blow to OSR status. Players give a few highlights of last game as a recap and get XP for it (usually centered on their own character's exploits). I ran D&D with that rule tacked on for a long time and the players said they loved it. But... "It's not OSR" so fine, fine. OK man.