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CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The U.S. Department of Justice is challenging bans involving transgender people that target athletes in West Virginia and children in Arkansas.

The department on Thursday slammed those bans as violations of federal law and filed statements of interest in lawsuits seeking to overturn new laws in the two states.

In West Virginia, a lawsuit filed on behalf of an 11-year-old transgender girl challenges a ban on transgender athletes from competing in female sports.

Arkansas became the first state to ban gender confirming treatments or surgery for transgender youth. That law is scheduled to go into effect on July 28.

 The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit asking a judge to strike down the Arkansas law in May. The law prohibits doctors from providing gender confirming hormone treatment, puberty blockers or surgery to anyone under 18 years old, or from referring them to other providers for the treatment.

The Republican Legislature last month enacted the ban, overriding a veto by GOP Gov. Asa Hutchinson.