- In New Zealand the Homosexual Law Reform Act made the age of consent for sexual acts between two men the same as that for between a man and a woman, 16.
- June 30 - The U.S. Supreme Court upholds the constitutionality of a Georgia sodomy law in Bowers v. Hardwick.
- August 9 - The second Gay Games, Triumph '86, kicks off in San Francisco, California with 3,500 participants.
- October 9 - E. Otis Charles, the 67-year-old retired Episcopal bishop of Utah comes out as a gay man.
- October 22 - In the battle against AIDS U.S. Attorney General C. Everett Koop publishes first government publications for the public on gay safe sex practices.
- May 30 - Perry Ellis, 46, fashion designer
- December 24 - John John Damien, 53, professional race car driver
- December 28 - Terry Dolan, 36, anti-gay activist from AIDS-related illness
- Web site for Advocate news magazine
- Google search for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender news
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