In an open letter, the 22-year-old German milk technician explained why he had taken the decision.
“When I entered the 2015 Mr Gay World competition in South Africa I thought that becoming Mr Gay World was the biggest challenge of my life.
“Indeed it is very challenging and exciting winning the title, but what is more challenging is living up to the expectations, responsibilities and duties that come along with it.
“Being Mr Gay World and serving the community has filled me with pride and joy. I had the opportunity to travel to different places and meet many members and friends of the LGBTI community – their positive feedback showed me that my mission had a true meaning and that the efforts of Mr Gay World are relevant and important.
“Facing these great experiences I’m very sad to announce that due to personal changes in my life I will no longer be able to live up to the expectations and serve the community to the extent that the title requires to do so.
“This is why – with great sadness – I’m stepping down from the title,” Burkart said.
Emmanuel Mass Luciano (Hong Kong) will take over the title
Runner up Emmanuel Mass Luciano, Mr Gay Hong Kong, will now step into the position for the remainder of Burkart’s year as Mr Gay World 2015, becoming the first title holder from Asia.
In a video message, the 36-year-old fashion designer, stylist and blogger said that he was “thrilled at the opportunity to assume the role of Mr Gay World 2015.”
Luciano explained that he aims to continue his efforts to raise awareness about issues affecting the LGBTI community, “such as the rise of new HIV infections around the world, especially here in Asia, which is increasing at an alarming rate.”