HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — The U.S. Justice Department is getting involved in a federal civil rights lawsuit that seeks to block transgender athletes in Connecticut from competing as girls in interscholastic sports.

Attorney General William Barr signed what is known as a statement of interest, arguing against the policy of the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference, which oversees high school athletic competitions. The conference allows athletes to compete as the gender with which they identify, arguing it is following a state law that requires high school students be treated according to their gender identity. It also argues the policy is in accordance with Title IX, the federal law that allows girls equal educational opportunities, including in athletics.

The Justice Department, in its filing, Barr and other officials disagreed: “Under CIAC’s interpretation of Title IX, schools may not account for the real physiological differences between men and women. Instead, schools must have certain biological males — namely, those who publicly identify as female — compete against biological females. ... In so doing, CIAC deprives those women of the single-sex athletic competitions that are one of the marquee accomplishments of Title IX.”

The lawsuit was filed by runners Selina Soule, Glastonbury High senior; Chelsea Mitchell, Canton High senior; and Alanna Smith, Danbury High sophomore, against the conference and several local boards of education argues they have been deprived of wins, state titles and athletic opportunities by being forced to compete against transgender athletes.

“Males will always have inherent physical advantages over comparably talented and trained girls — that’s the reason we have girls’ sports in the first place,” attorney, Christiana Holcomb said. “And a male’s belief about his gender doesn’t eliminate those advantages.” She said because the suit asks for changes to the state record book, it will go forward even if not resolved

The American Civil Liberties Union represents the two transgender girls who run track in Connecticut.

Conference officials have put off a decision on whether to cancel it. before the seniors graduate.